LaRussa Returning to Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Tony La Russa ended the usual postseason

suspense, agreeing to a 16th season as St. Louis Cardinals manager.

The team announced a deal Monday that included a mutual option

for the 2012 season. Financial terms were not disclosed on the new

contract, finalized 15 days after the end of a disappointing season

that left the 66-year-old La Russa wondering if he'd worn out his


"For the last 10 days or so, Tony and I have had daily

dialogue," general manager John Mozeliak said. "And I'm happy to

report that we're welcoming him back."

The team planned a news conference Tuesday for La Russa, who

agreed to a one-year contract for the second straight season. Last

year's deal did not include a mutual option.

Mozeliak said La Russa got assurances that all parties were on

the same page regarding how to best build a contender.

Bullpen coach Marty Mason will not be retained, but the rest of

coaching staff will be offered contracts this week. The team said

it would fill the bullpen coach vacancy from within.

Mozeliak indicated that he and Mason had philosophical


"You look at this group of coaches, they've been together a

long time, and I think having some new faces up here certainly

would help," the general manager said. "It was time to make a


La Russa has a franchise-record 1,318 wins since joining the

team as manager in 1996 and has 2,638 wins overall for third on the

major league career list, needing 126 wins to pass John McGraw for

second place. He has managed 4,935 games, second on the list.

The Cardinals have won eight division titles, two National

League pennants and a World Series title in 2006 under La Russa,

but the franchise has not made it to the postseason in three of the

last four seasons.

The Cardinals were heavily favored to win the NL Central but

collapsed the final two months and were 86-76, five games behind

the Cincinnati Reds. La Russa hasn't publicly commented on his

status since driving home to northern California a few days after

the end of the season.

Apparently, a sticking point was security for the coaching

staff. Pitching coach Dave Duncan, who has been with La Russa for

28 seasons, said recently he'd like to coach three more years.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)