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Tony La Russa to return to Chicago White Sox bench

Oct 12, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Right field umpire Tom Hallion (20) talks to Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa (22) after first baseman Jose Abreu (not pictured) was hit by a pitch against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game four of the 2021 ALDS at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Right field umpire Tom Hallion (20) talks to Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa (22) after first baseman Jose Abreu (not pictured) was hit by a pitch against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game four of the 2021 ALDS at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Tony La Russa will return as the Chicago White Sox manager in 2022, ESPN reported Thursday.

The report comes the same day that All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson threw his full-throated support behind the 77-year-old skipper.

“I want him to be back,” Anderson said Thursday. “At the end of the day, my decision doesn’t really matter. I guess it all depends on what the front office thinks. … I definitely want him in. I think he did a great job with the way he managed and just being open.”

La Russa led the White Sox to a 93-69 record and a first-place finish in the American League Central. The White Sox were eliminated in four games by the Houston Astros earlier this week in the AL Division Series.

La Russa had a tumultuous second stint in Chicago before it even started. The White Sox came under fire for hiring La Russa nearly one year ago despite DUI charges that came about in February 2020. He pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge last December and was publicly scolded by the White Sox.

La Russa previously pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Florida in 2007.

In May, La Russa admitted to not knowing the extra-inning rule that allowed managers to avoid using a pitcher at second base.

Also in May, he criticized his own player, Yermin Mercedes, for swinging at a 3-0 pitch with a huge lead. The criticism pitted La Russa against other players — including Anderson — in the White Sox clubhouse who came to Mercedes’ defense.

“Everybody thought we weren’t going to get along,” said Anderson. “But overall, we were talking behind the scenes the whole time. Just for him, the players come first and he makes that known. We’re one big family.”

Jose Abreu this week also lobbied for La Russa’s return.

La Russa has won 2,821 games in 36 seasons as a manager with the White Sox (1979-87, 2021), Oakland A’s (1986-95) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011). Only Connie Mack posted more managerial wins with 3,731.

–Field Level Media