Tony La Russa will be reunited with his old and current teams for the Dave Stewart jersey retirement Sunday afternoon before the Oakland Athletics host the Chicago White Sox in the finale of a four-game series.
La Russa, manager of the White Sox, left his team Aug. 30 for what has been labeled health reasons. Bench coach Miguel Cairo has taken over running the squad, which has won nine of 12 games, including the first three in Oakland.
The White Sox announced Saturday that La Russa, who has been undergoing tests in Phoenix, has been cleared to fly to Oakland for the Stewart ceremony but has not been cleared to manage his team.
Cairo assured just La Russa’s presence will fire up a club that has won four in a row, recording 20 or more hits in two of them.
“I’m excited to see him, and excited to hear that everything is well and he’s healthy,” Cairo insisted. “I know that the team is very excited to see him.”
La Russa managed Oakland from 1986-95, a stretch during which the A’s made the playoffs four times and the World Series three times, winning once in 1989.
Stewart pitched on seven of those teams, finishing fourth or higher in the American League Cy Young Award balloting four times.
An Oakland native and A’s fan as a youth, Stewart requested — and was given — longtime A’s great Rollie Fingers’ No. 34. The A’s will honor that number for a second time Sunday.
“(Stewart) gave his heart and soul to this club and our Oakland community,” A’s president Dave Kaval said. “It seems fitting that Dave wore Rollie Fingers’ number. We retired Rollie’s No. 34 in 1993, and we are proud to add Stew’s No. 34 to honor and celebrate his incredible contributions to our club.”
A’s pitchers have run the gamut of results in the first three games of the series. JP Sears was bombed for six runs and eight hits in two innings in a 14-2 shellacking on Thursday, and Adrian Martinez served up seven runs on 14 hits in 3 2/3 innings Saturday in a 10-2 defeat.
In between, emergency starter Austin Pruitt threw five no-hit innings Friday before being pulled from a shutout, one the A’s took to the ninth inning. The White Sox rallied for a 5-3 win.
Left-hander Cole Irvin (7-11, 3.78) is scheduled to get the ball for Oakland (50-90) in the series finale. He’s faced the White Sox just once in his career, earning a win after limiting them to three runs in six innings in a 5-4 road victory last season.
Irvin is coming off his worst outing of the year, having given up nine runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 10-9 home loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
The White Sox (72-68) are expected to counter with veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-7, 2.87), who is making his Bay Area return after having spent the past six seasons with the San Francisco Giants.
The 36-year-old enters the game in fine form, having limited the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners to a total of two runs in 11 1/3 innings in his past two starts.
Cueto has never lost in his career against the A’s, going 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in five starts. He got a no-decision in a 3-2 home win over Oakland in July, allowing two runs in seven innings.
–Field Level Media