No timetable for La Russa’s return as White Sox return home

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CHICAGO – White Sox manager Tony La Russa will watch the team’s home series against Colorado from a suite while he awaits clearance to return to the dugout.

The 77-year-old La Russa is on the mend after leaving the White Sox on Aug. 30 to deal with a heart issue. La Russa rejoined the team in Oakland on Sunday and then flew home with the club for the two-game set against the Rockies.

There is no timetable for the Hall of Famer when it comes to returning to the stress of in-game managing. Chicago begins a four-game trip on Thursday in Cleveland.

“For now, it’s just taking it day by day and following the lead of the medical professionals and talking to Tony,” general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday.

La Russa is in the second season of his second stint as White Sox manager. Bench coach Miguel Cairo is running the team while La Russa is out.

Chicago won nine of its first 13 games after Cairo took over, strengthening its bid for a third consecutive playoff appearance.

“Today I’m the manager. Tomorrow I don’t know,” Cairo said. “But that’s in my job right now and I’m glad (La Russa is) around because I always ask him questions about what I could have done better or different or stuff like that. He got experience. He’s a mentor. He’s like a father to me. I care about him and I’m glad he’s well. He’s in good spirits.”

Hahn said it’s “too soon” to address how La Russa’s health affects the team’s managerial situation for next year.

“Look, we’ve been trying to navigate the last few weeks under unique circumstances, and I think the team has done very well,” Hahn said. “And obviously, everyone’s noted that. But as for what lies ahead for next year, it’s simply too soon for that.”

All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson moved closer to a potential return when he was cleared Tuesday to begin ramping up his baseball activity. He had surgery last month to repair a tear on the middle finger of his left hand.

Anderson is batting .301 with six homers, 25 RBIs and 13 steals this season. The White Sox signed veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus after Anderson got hurt, and Andrus hit .293 with five homers and 20 RBIs in his first 22 games with his new team.

Hahn said Anderson might be ready to return during the team’s next homestand.

“Once we get a little closer to that, we’ll come up with a plan for how we’re going to figure out how to incorporate both of them on a fairly regular basis going forward,” Hahn said of Anderson and Andrus.

Hahn met with the media via Zoom after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. He said he had some mild flu-like symptoms and a little cough.

Center fielder Luis Robert returned to the starting lineup for the opener against Colorado after missing five games because of left wrist soreness. Robert is batting .295 with 12 homers and 56 RBIs in 92 games.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.