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MLB notebook

White Sox get permission to talk to Tony La Russa about managerial vacancy

Tony La Russa, a special baseball advisor with the Los Angeles Angels, is reported to be a candidate for the White Sox managerial vacancy.
Tony La Russa, a special baseball advisor with the Los Angeles Angels, is reported to be a candidate for the White Sox managerial vacancy.Sean M. Haffey/Getty

The Los Angeles Angels granted the Chicago White Sox permission to interview Hall of Famer Tony La Russa for their managing job, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

The person, confirming a USA Today report, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Angels typically do not comment on personnel matters.

A three-time World Series-winning manager, the 76-year-old La Russa joined the Angels prior to this season as senior advisor of baseball operations.

The White Sox agreed to split with Rick Renteria after a disappointing finish to a breakthrough season in which Chicago made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

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La Russa, who started his managing career with the White Sox during the 1979 season, hasn’t managed since 2011, when he led St. Louis past Texas in the World Series. He also won championships with Oakland in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006.

Tony La Russa spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in the Red Sox organization.
Tony La Russa spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in the Red Sox organization.Jim Davis

If hired, he would be the oldest manager in the major leagues by five years. Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is 71.

La Russa is 2,728-2,365 with six pennants over 33 seasons with Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis and was enshrined in Cooperstown in 2014. Only Hall of Famers Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) have more victories.

LaRussa managed the White Sox to a 522-510 record over parts of eight seasons. He led the 1983 team to 99 wins and the AL West championship. But he was fired in 1986 by then-general manager Ken Harrelson after the White Sox got off to a 26-38 start.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has long regretted that move and remains close with La Russa. If La Russa gets the job, he will inherit a team that appears poised for long-term success.

The White Sox have never made back-to-back playoff appearances. But after ending a string of seven losing seasons, they are in position to change that.

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They have a core of young players on team-friendly deals, starting with shortstop Tim Anderson. Veteran José Abreu put himself in the running for AL MVP by driving in 60 runs. Ace Lucas Giolito pitched his first no-hitter.

Eloy Jiménez hit .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs. Luis Robert, who agreed to a $50 million, six-year contract in January, showed star potential in a roller-coaster rookie year. He got off to a great start and hit a massive homer in the playoff series against Oakland. But he also slumped in September.

Kershaw likely to start Game 4

Clayton Kershaw is a likely possibility to start Game 4 of the National League Championship Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers if the left-hander’s back continues to improve, manager Dave Roberts said.

Kershaw was scratched from the Game 2 start because of back spasms, and Roberts decided to stick with lefthander Julio Urías for Game 3 against Atlanta. Game 4 of the neutral-site series in Arlington, Texas, is Thursday night.

“Every day it’s been better,” Roberts said of Kershaw’s back. “I can’t just sit here right now and say he’s going to start tomorrow. I think if it progresses the way it has, it’s a likely possibility. But again, this is making sure Clayton feels good tomorrow when he wakes up and the training staff gives us our blessing as well.”

Clayton Kershaw works out before Wednesday's Game 3.
Clayton Kershaw works out before Wednesday's Game 3.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Following losses by the Dodgers in the first two games, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw in the outfield before Game 3.

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Kershaw pitched a few miles from his hometown of Dallas for the first time in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against San Diego, giving up three runs in six innings for his club-record 11th career postseason victory in LA’s 6-5 win.