A video of a fan asking Tony La Russa to pinch-run Adam Engel for Eloy Jimenez from a few rows away, with the Chicago White Sox manager making the move in the eighth inning of Monday’s game, became viral and was even featured on the MLB Network. .
Asked about it before Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros, La Russa said it was the first time he had heard of the fan, but added with a laugh: “Well, make his day. Tell him I heard him.
Jimenez tied the game with a two-out, two-run double in the eighth. José Abreu was batting when La Russa took a couple of steps up the field to call time and Engel to run for Jiménez.
Engel got to third when Abreu and Yasmani Grandal walked (Abreu intentionally). Engel and Abreu scored on a single by Yoán Moncada, and the Sox won 4-2.
La Russa explained the process before Tuesday’s game.
“I spent a lot of time talking to (coaches) Jerry (Narron) and Miguel (Cairo),” La Russa said. “It was a really difficult decision. I can tell you why. We went back and forth with it. It’s the eighth inning, the score is tied. So if he’s tied for ninth again, at 10th, and Jimenez’s spot is coming up, he’s third in the inning, do you want to take the bat from him?
“His defense (in left field) has been good enough. I was more concerned if it’s a close play (at the plate) and he’s going to try to run it, he might get hurt. That was a difficult choice. Ninth inning, sure. Eighth inning, in a tied game, I said I’d rather not. I would regret having hurt him.
“And secondly, we will have a very good defense (with Engel, who came into the center while AJ Pollock moved to the left) and if he gets up he can also do something. That was the hesitation. It was a very difficult decision.”