CHICAGO — The White Sox say they “understand the seriousness” of DUI charges against Tony La Russa but will avoid further comments until the Hall of Fame manager’s case is resolved.

“As Tony La Russa’s attorney said in his statement, Tony deserves all the assumptions and protections granted to everyone in a court of law, especially while this is a pending matter,” the team said Thursday in a statement. “Once his case reaches resolution in the courts, we will have more to say. The White Sox understand the seriousness of these charges.”

La Russa, 76, was charged with DUI last month, a day before he was hired as White Sox manager. According to the arrest affidavit, after blowing out a tire on an Arizona highway, La Russa showed a blood alcohol level of 0.90, above the legal limit of 0.80.

La Russa has yet to comment publicly on the arrest. When reached Monday night, La Russa told ESPN, “I have nothing to say,” and hung up the phone. La Russa was employed by the Los Angeles Angels at the time of his arrest.

This was La Russa’s second arrest on a DUI charge after receiving one during spring training in 2007 while manager of the St. Louis Cardinals; he pleaded to misdemeanor DUI in that incident.

The White Sox said they were aware of the February arrest before hiring La Russa, who has close ties to team owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf has stated publicly many times that one of his regrets as an owner was firing La Russa the first time around, ending his tenure that ran from 1979 to 1986. The White Sox have shown no inclination to go back on their decision to hire him a second time despite the second DUI.

La Russa was hired after former manager Rick Renteria was dismissed after the season. Renteria finished second in American League Manager of the Year voting.


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