Rolen, La Russa bury the hatchet

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A near-death experience can cause a guy to reassess his life and seek reproachment with enemies. A ball to the side of the head is less dramatic, but maybe it can have the same effect:

Scott Rolen tried to put an end to his feud with Tony La Russa stopping by the Cardinals manager’s office Monday in his first trip back to Busch Stadium since his trade almost two seasons ago . . . He said he hadn’t spoken with La Russa since being sent to the Blue Jays for Troy Glaus in January 2008, a deal made when relations between the two soured after Rolen was benched during the 2006 postseason.

I’m no Tony La Russa fan. Though I respect him as a manager and can’t deny his success, he grinds my gears to no end. I think his particular brand of bullpen usage has done way more damage to baseball than good, I’m peeved by the fact that he’s all-too-willing to accept the “genius” label, yet is all-too-willing to play dumb when someone asks him about steroid use in his clubhouses, and I can’t stand anyone who wears sunglasses at night.

All that said: Rolen was the jerk in that little feud. He couldn’t hit a lick with that bum shoulder in 2006, and if I were in La Russa’s shoes, I would have benched him too. Cardinals won the World Series that year, by the way. Why it took nearly three years for Rolen to get over that is beyond me.

Report: Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as new manager

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The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.

According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.

The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.