CHICAGO – One of the biggest questions for the White Sox as their season comes to an end is when their manager might be making a return to the dugout.

A report on Thursday afternoon indicated that might come sooner than later.

Per a report from Jon Heyman of the New York Post, La Russa is expected to return to the club “as early as next week” following his absence for an unspecified health issue. He’s been away from the team since August 30th, when he was ruled out of the game against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field at the advice of his doctors.

He then went to Arizona where he underwent further testing with his doctors. There has been no official announcement on La Russa’s status since August 31st from the White Sox.

Bench coach Miguel Cairo has been the acting manager since August 30th and the club has gone 6-3 under his leadership. The White Sox are just two games behind the Guardians for first place in the American League Central division as they begin a four-game series against the Athletics in Oakland on Thursday evening.

La Russa is in the second year of his second stint as the White Sox manager, having been hired to replace Rick Renteria after the conclusion of the 2020 season. In 2021, the White Sox went 93-69 to win their first AL Central championship since the 2008 season and appear in the postseason for a second-straight time.

The team lost in the American League Division Series to the Astros in four games.

In 2022, the same success has escaped the White Sox as injuries and inconsistent play have kept the team around the .500 mark all season and out of first place for most of that time.