Results tagged ‘ Tony La Russa ’

La Russa goes to bat for Bagwell, Biggio

Three-time World Series champion manager Tony La Russa, who’s going into the Hall of Fame this year, spent a decade battling the Astros led by Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio as manager of the Cardinals in the National League Central.

La Russa has an immense amount of respect for the Killer B’s and said on Friday that both Bagwell and Biggio should get into the Hall of Game. Biggio came up two votes shy of reaching Cooperstown, N.Y., this year in his second year on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Bagwell has been on the ballot four years and has yet to crack 60 percent.

“There’s no doubt that Craig’s going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s going to happen,” said La Russa, who’s a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig. “He almost got in the first time and didn’t get in the second time. I’m sure he gets a little impatient, but I’m sure it’s going to happen for him, and when he does it will be well deserved.”

La Russa, who was in Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday for a meeting about instant replay, said he enjoyed battling yearly with the Minnesota Twins while he was manager of A’s in the 1990s, and he said he had a similar rivalry with the Astros when both were in the NL Central.

“Houston, in our division, Bagwell, Biggio and [Lance] Berkman, they had good surrounding characters the couple of years you had [Carlos] Beltran and [Jeff] Kent,” he said. “So I saw Bagwell as a huge influence, not just on the field but off. One of the best players of our generation.”

La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

Pettini to rep Astros at All-Star Game

Astros bench coach Joe Pettini has been chosen by National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa to serve as the bench coach for the NL at the 83rd All-Star Game, which is scheduled for July 10 in Kansas City.

La Russa, who retired after leading the Cardinals to the World Series title last year, invited his entire Cardinals coaching staff to join him in Kansas City — Dave Duncan (pitching), Derek Lilliquist (bullpen), Mark McGwire (hitting), Dave McKay (first base coach; currently with the Chicago Cubs) and Jose Oquendo (third base coach).

La Russa also named Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins as his NL coaches. Collins was an NL coach while manager of the Astros in 1995 under NL manager Felipe Alou at the All-Star Game in Arlington.

Pettini won two World Series titles as La Russa’s right-hand man, including last year’s scintillating run that culminated with a victory over the Rangers. Pettini, 57, left the Cardinals after more than 25 years as a player and coach in the organization for a chance to reunite with general manager Jeff Luhnow, who spent the previous eight years with the Cardinals.

Meet new Astros bench coach Joe Pettini

Joe Pettini will be the guy standing alongside manager Brad Mills on a daily basis this season, talking, discussing and dissecting every aspect of the game and the opponent. Pettini is the Astros’ new bench coach, and he brings with him a wealth of experience after working the previous 10 years under one of the game’s all-time great managers in Tony La Russa.

Pettini won two World Series titles as La Russa’s right-hand man, including last year’s scintillating run that culminated with a victory over the Texas Rangers. While he thoroughly enjoyed working for La Russa, who retired after last season, Pettini is ready for a change of pace with the Astros and third-year manager Mills.

“Tony is a Hall of Fame manager and he was great to work for, but as the bench coach for Tony, sometimes you’re limited in what you have to do,” Pettini said. “It’s not like you can ask questions or ask for his input throughout the game, but Brad’s made it known to me he wants an ongoing conversation during the game. For me, I will love that. Just being part of the game and helping him out as the game progresses, I’m looking forward to that and I’m very excited about that.”

Pettini, 57, chose to leave the Cardinals after more than 25 years as a player and coach in the organization for a chance to reunite with general manager Jeff Luhnow, who spent the previous eight years with the Cardinals.

“I’m very excited and really appreciate the opportunity Jeff gave me to come down here and work with Brad,” Pettini said. “I know the situation that’s going on in Houston and that we’re kind of in a rebuilding mode. I spent a lot of years in the Minor Leagues with St. Louis before I got a chance to go to the big leagues with Tony and spent a lot of time with younger players, and I think that experience will come into play and hopefully I will be of help.”

Pettini’s playing career was similar to Mills. Pettini played parts of four seasons with the Giants from 1980-83, appearing in 188 games with one homer and 20 RBIs. Mills played in a reserve role for the Expos from 1980-83, appearing in 106 games and hitting one home run with 12 RBIs.

Pettini will be in charge of organization and running Spring Training this year, which is what he did for years with the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

“He has a lot of experience,” Mills said. “He brings a different way of doing things, which I think is good. I think the message is going to be my message, but in a different format with him and his experience. We’re looking forward to working together. We’ve talked a lot and I feel very comfortable with him.”

Said Pettini: “I’m going to be in charge of outlining the schedule. It’s still Brad’s program and his way he wants things to be done, and my job will be to help outline it and make sure the schedules go up and the meetings run smoothly and everybody knows what’s going on and everybody is on the same page. It’s still Brad’s program.”

The first week to 10 days of Spring Training will be rather hectic for Pettini, as he learns new names and faces and tries to get acclimated to a new complex in Central Florida.

“If you’re outlining the schedule every day, that’s probably the most busy time of the year,” he said. “You have a lot of players when you first get in. It’s not so bad with the pitchers and catchers, but when you have pitchers and catchers and position players report, thank God you have the support of the Minor League staff to come and help with all the players you have. It’s probably the most difficult time. You want to try to outline the program so the guys can go out and get to work. You don’t want guys standing around doing nothing because there’s things they need to do to get off the field.”

Pettini joined the Cardinals organization as a Minor League player in 1984 and went into managing after his playing career ended in 1988. Pettini managed eight seasons in the system. His last stop was at Triple-A Louisville, where he guided the Redbirds to the 1995 American Association championship. Overall, he was 475-569 at the helm of the Cardinals’ farm affiliates.

He was the organization’s minor league field coordinator from 1997-2001 before he began working with the Major League club.

“No matter how long you’ve been in the game or how good you think you are, you have to be able to keep up with the game and understand the game and understand the people and teams you play against,” Pettini said. “I know what it’s like to be a manager. I managed eight years in the Minor Leagues, and when you’re the bench coach, you have to actually follow the game as if you are the manager.

“When the manager has a question, you have to be able to answer it and you have to be able to give input as far as how the game’s going and what could benefit your club, as well as what the other clubs are doing against you.”

Pettini was born Jan. 26, 1955, in Wheeling, W.V., and graduated from Brooke High School in Wellsburg, W.V., in 1973. He received a bachelor’s degree in education from Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Pettini and his wife, Barbara, have been married 30 years and reside in Bethany, W.V. They have two children: Amy and Joseph, and a granddaughter, Marlee Joe.

Mills getting long in tooth among NL Central managers

Brad Mills and Terry Francona, former college roommates who worked together for years with the Phillies and the Red Sox, could soon be battling each other 18 times a season in the National League Central.

News reports say Francona is set to interview for the Cardinals’ vacant managerial position after he was let go by the Red Sox earlier this year. This comes after Ryne Sandberg was given permission to interview in St. Louis.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have fired Mike Quade and are going to interview Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, who interviewed in Houston before Mills go the job two years ago.

Believe it or not, Mills is now the second-longest current tenured manager in the NL Central behind Dusty Baker. Here’s a breakdown of the managerial status of the teams in the Central:

St. Louis Cardinals — Vacant following the retirement of Tony La Russa.

Chicago Cubs — Vacant following the dismissal of Mike Quade.

Pittsburgh Pirates — Clint Hurdle just completed his first season in Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee Brewers — Ron Roenicke led the Brewers to the division title in his first season in 2011.

Houston Astros — Brad Mills has completed two seasons on the job.

Cincinnati Reds — Dusty Baker took over following the 2007 season and replaced Pete Mackanin, who was hired on an interim basis.

Carlos Lee not backing down

I will have a full story posted later on the website about the incident, but here are the raw reactions of Astros left fielder Carlos Lee and Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter after benches emptied in the third inning Thursday.

Lee pounded his bat in the ground after popping out to shortstop with runners at first and second base and appeared to be yelling at himself in frustration. Carpenter stared at Lee jogging down the line and began yelling back before being separated.

Lee: “I wasn’t trying to show him up. I never looked at him. I got [mad] because I got a pitch to hit and I popped it up. I was mad at myself. I don’t know what he said to me, but he said something and was looking at me, staring at me. For what?”

Carpenter: “It wasn’t a big deal. I don’t know why it turned into a big deal. Things happen. I said something, he said something. He kept coming at it. He’s the one that caused everybody to come out, not me. I was just telling him there’s no need for it.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: “Well, routinely now, hitters pop up a pitch they think they should do [something] with, and they start making noises, and that really is disrespectful to the pitcher. Most of the pitchers just turn around and ignore it. Carp doesn’t. And I think Carp’s in the right. I think respect should go both ways. He gets you out, he gets you out. Just zip it and go back. He gives it up, you zip it and let the guy go around the bases. Most pitchers, they let the guys jabber. I don’t think Carlos Lee is anything special as far as a guy who disrespects, but it’s so common now.”

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