La Russa’s next stop could be front office
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:00 pm
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland sat together in the manager’s office at the Detroit Tigers’ spring training complex, a couple old friends trading barbs and reminiscing.
“I’ve got one goal,” La Russa said. “It’s to have him stop smoking — and eat tofu.”
A few minutes later, Leyland had a retort ready.
“I didn’t start smoking until I started coaching for him,” the Detroit skipper said.
La Russa retired after last season, leaving on top after managing the St. Louis Cardinals to an improbable World Series title, but by no means is he about to turn his back on baseball. He plans to visit with the Tigers for a bit, but he’ll also tour some other spring training locales. He and Leyland have been friends for a while, and La Russa hopes to learn a few things about how a front office operates from Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski, who he’s known for over three decades.
“I may go to the front office sometime,” La Russa said. “I thought he’d be a good guy to talk to and figure out what goes on upstairs, besides second-guessing the manager.”
Dressed casually in jeans, La Russa took the field with Leyland when the team started its workout. Reliever Octavio Dotel, who played for the Cardinals last year before joining the Tigers, shared a hug with his former manager, but for the most part La Russa seemed content to stay off to the side and observe.
La Russa said he’s talked to Commissioner Bud Selig about working for Major League Baseball in some capacity.
“I don’t know how official the commissioner wants to make it,” he said.
La Russa remained vague about what he might do, but he said he would not be taking Joe Torre’s old job as executive vice president of baseball operations.
“I think keeping Tony in the game of baseball is a very good thing, whatever he chooses to do,” Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said.
La Russa wasn’t the only big name to leave the Cardinals. Slugger Albert Pujols went to the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent, but La Russa expressed optimism that St. Louis would be tough to beat.
“It’s hard to say without Albert, but they’ve got a really good club,” La Russa said. “They made a really good signing with (outfielder Carlos) Beltran.”
Published in The Messenger 2.23.12