x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Cardinals' La Russa ready for spring training

Tony La Russa said watching the post-season on television reinforced his feeling that there is still "fire in the gut".

Tony La Russa said watching the post-season on television reinforced his feeling that there is still "fire in the gut", so he is returning for his 16th season of managing the St Louis Cardinals.

"I'm ready to start spring training tomorrow," La Russa said. "I love the game and this organisation is the place to be. I know how lucky I am and we have the makings of a really good club, which could be really exciting next year. What more do you want?"

He is not sure yet whether his hitting coach Mark McGwire, a father of five torn by his love of baseball and family responsibility, will also be back. The Cardinals hope to get an answer from McGwire in the next few days.

"He's having a real tussle trying to figure out coach, father," La Russa said. "We'll see which way he goes. But he'll definitely be offered a chance to come back.

"I know the organisation is sensitive to what he's going through."

La Russa signed a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2012. He rejected the theory that he would be a lame duck manager, noting that he has managed a number of times in the final year of a deal. He said he would not want to stick around only because the team owed him money.

"You take every year like it's the last year you're going to manage," La Russa said. "I've done that for years, and I think that's the attitude you should have."