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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Tony La Russa responds to veteran player’s criticism of White Sox

Tony La Russa looking on

Aug 22, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa (22) looks on during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa did not seem pleased after one of his veteran players questioned the team’s fire following Wednesday’s loss.

Pitcher Johnny Cueto offered up a very critical quote about the White Sox after their 8-3 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday. Cueto, a 15-year MLB veteran, said through a translator that the White Sox “need to show the fire that we have — if we have any.”

Those comments, which seemingly questioned the team’s sense of urgency, were put to La Russa on Thursday. The manager did not seem happy that Cueto had aired his frustrations publicly.

“I think it’s a curious statement,” La Russa said, via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s better to be discussed within the family. If there’s a problem, we’ll straighten it out.

“I heard that he said that and I was surprised he said that. His opinion is welcome and it also carries weight; the guy is experienced. I’ll ask him about it.”

La Russa can’t exactly be dismissive about Cueto’s comments. The pitcher has played for a long time and has a World Series title to his name. As the manager said, his words are going to carry weight.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that Cueto’s remarks will increase scrutiny on La Russa and the White Sox. The team has been a huge disappointment, entering play Thursday at 56-55 despite being preseason favorites to win the AL Central. They have been plagued by rumors about a dysfunctional, laid-back clubhouse that lacks a sense of urgency. Cueto’s remarks would seem to indicate that there is some truth to those rumors, which is not what La Russa wants out there.

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