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Miguel Cairo hopes to succeed Tony La Russa as White Sox manager, will be first to be interviewed

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Tony La Russa's announcement that he was stepping down for health reasons left a void for the White Sox in the manager spot.

Acting manager Miguel Cairo has been filling that void since end of August. He'd love to drop the "acting" tag and be the next man to lead the team officially.

The first step to be considered for any job, of course, is getting an interview – and White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn confirmed Cairo as the first person by name that will get that chance.

Despite not completing a comeback to the postseason this year, the White Sox are 17-15 since Cairo took over following La Russa's medical leave.

But it is a bittersweet time for the man who started the season as the Sox bench coach.

Cairo described his special bond with La Russa.

"It was emotional for me, because I played for him, and you know, he's my mentor. I learned so much from him… you know, I'm going to keep calling to keep learning," he said. But you know, we're going to miss him here for sure."

Cairo said he was pleased to be first in line for an interview to succeed La Russa.

"I fell really honored that they're going to give me the chance to interview for the job. We've got a great group of guys in there… and you know, I'm going to see what happens and go through the process," he said. "I know they're going to interview more people, and I'm just going to be ready."

La Russa officially announced his retirement on Monday.

Despite starting the season among the league's World Series favorites, the White Sox will need to win out the rest of their games just to finish with a winning record. They were eliminated from the playoffs last week, amid an eight-game losing streak.

La Russa, who turns 78 on Tuesday, stepped away from the team at the end of August on the advice of his doctors and underwent a procedure to repair his pacemaker. He said in a statement that a periodic check of the device identified a problem and he was notified during batting practice on Aug. 30.

He added a second health issue was diagnosed during an annual exam earlier this year. La Russa did not specify what the issue was, he said he decided to "delay confronting it" until the offseason. While he was inactive with the pacemaker issue, La Russa said the second issue was analyzed and his medical team began to implement a "corrective plan."

While La Russa said his "overall prognosis is good," he added "it has become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023."

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