Tony La Russa didn’t know he could have used Jose Abreu at second base as the free runner instead of closer Liam Hendriks.
Tony La Russa may want to study the rules that have changed since he last managed a decade ago.
His cluelessness about MLB’s new extra-runner rule in extra innings ultimately cost the White Sox a game on Wednesday as the Reds beat them, 1-0.
In the top of the 10th inning, Chicago had closer Liam Hendriks as the runner on second base after he pitched the bottom of the ninth. Yasmani Grandal walked, putting runners on first and second, before Leury Garcia grounded into a fielder’s choice. Thus, Hendriks found himself on third with Garcia on first and one out.
Garcia was then caught stealing with Billy Hamilton at the plate, who eventually struck out to end the inning. The Reds went on to win in the bottom of the 10th.
What La Russa didn’t know is that he could have used Jose Abreu at second base as the free runner instead of Hendriks, whose inexperience on the base paths likely influenced Chicago to try for the unsuccessful steal of second base.
The Athletic’s James Fegan informed him of the amendment to the extra-runners rule. La Russa thought that it had to be the previous batter, even if it was the pitcher’s spot.
The White Sox don’t usually have pitchers run the bases since they play in the American League, where the designated hitter rule is in effect. But since they were playing in Cincinnati, a National League club, that entered the realm of possibility.
If La Russa knew the rulebook better, however, Hendriks wouldn’t have needed to run and the White Sox may have escaped extra innings with a win instead of a loss that could have been prevented.
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