Abreu believes La Russa returns as manager: 'He's going to be with us'
Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu believes Tony La Russa will return to manage the team next season.
"I didn't have any conversation with him about it, but I'm pretty sure he's going to come back," Abreu said, according to NBC Sports Chicago's Maddie Lee. "He won't leave us alone. He's going to be with us."
Abreu's comments come one day after the Houston Astros eliminated Chicago in the American League Division Series. Following the loss, La Russa said he was unsure if he'd return to manage the White Sox in 2022 and would like to leave the decision up to the players.
"I'm not gonna talk about myself," he said. "The process I've used once I had a little security - probably about the fifth or sixth year - is 'do they want you back?' I just leave if they don't want you back. They say yes, then you ask the players. They should choose who they want to manage. If you get both of those, then you check yourself."
Chicago brought La Russa in to manage this campaign after he initially spent eight years with the White Sox as their skipper from 1979-1986. Franchise owner Jerry Reinsdorf made the decision to rehire La Russa, calling the manager's previous firing his biggest regret.
The 77-year-old's hiring was criticized after the discovery that he had been charged with driving under the influence one day before Chicago announced he would become its manager.
There were also concerns about how he would gel with brash young stars like Tim Anderson, and an additional midseason incident involving Yermin Mercedes did not sit well with players on the White Sox and other clubs.
Despite all of this, Abreu stands by La Russa, who was livid with umpires during Wednesday's game after accusing the Astros of hitting his first baseman on purpose.
"It was a natural reaction," Abreu said. "That’s the kind of reaction that I would have if something happened to one of my children. Tony was trying to protect me, and he's always trying to protect us."