Tony La Russa Says He Didn't Know Extra-Innings Rule After White Sox Loss to Reds

Adam WellsMay 5, 2021

CHICAGO - APRIL 11:  Manager Tony La Russa #22 of the Chicago White Sox looks on against the Kansas City Royals on April 11, 2021 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Tony La Russa's return to the manager's chair with the Chicago White Sox hasn't been a smooth ride thus far. 

Speaking to reporters after Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in 10 innings, La Russa admitted he doesn't know the extra-inning rules Major League Baseball has adopted after he used closer Liam Hendriks as the runner to start at second base instead of Jose Abreu. 

Daryl Van Schouwen @CST_soxvan

Tony La Russa did not know that he could have used Jose Abreu at second base as the free runner instead of closer Liam Hendriks. Was informed of an amendment to rule by @JRFegan. "I'm guessing you know the rules better. Now I know," he said.

In the bottom of the ninth, La Russa executed a double switch with Hendriks replacing Andrew Vaughn and taking over for Michael Kopech on the mound. 

The No. 5 spot in the lineup, which is where Hendriks would have hit, made the last out of the ninth inning. 

Per the rules, the runner who made the last out of the previous inning is used as the runner on second base the next inning if a game goes into extras. MLB does allow for an exception if that spot in the lineup is a pitcher. 

In this case, Abreu would have been able to start the inning at second base by being the hitter preceding Hendriks in the lineup. 

The White Sox didn't score in the top half of the 10th inning. After Yasmani Grandal walked, Leury Garcia hit into a force out and was thrown out trying to steal second. Billy Hamilton struck out to end the frame. 

Hendriks gave up back-to-back singles to Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker to start the bottom of the 10th, allowing Tucker Barnhart to score the winning run.

The White Sox hired La Russa in October, nine years after he last managed the St. Louis Cardinals. 

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on Monday that "patience in some parts of the White Sox’s clubhouse is growing thin" with La Russa through the first month of the season. 

Chicago is off to a respectable 16-13 start after Wednesday's loss.