Tony La Russa returning as Cardinals manager

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After taking some time to ponder his future after the Dodgers swept the Cardinals out of the playoffs Tony La Russa will return for his 15th season as St. Louis’ manager, officially agreeing to a one-year contract with a 2011 option this afternoon.
At the press conference announcing his decision La Russa confirmed that Mark McGwire will be taking over for Hal McRae as the Cardinals’ hitting coach, saying: “I don’t know how many years I have left to manage, and I wanted to take this opportunity to invite a guy who I think has a very special talent.”
While the McGwire news will overshadow just about anything Cardinals related for the near future, the announcement that longtime pitching coach Dave Duncan will also be back in 2010 is likely to have a much bigger impact. La Russa and Duncan are one of the most successful manager-coach combos in baseball history, and Duncan’s ability to find gold in seemingly washed-up veterans like Joel Pineiro and Ryan Franklin is second-to-none.
Prior to hiring La Russa (and Duncan) in 1996 the Cardinals had missed the playoffs in eight straight seasons under Joe Torre and Whitey Herzog, but in the 14 years since then they’ve gone 1,232-1,034 (.544) with eight postseason appearances, two NL pennants, and a World Series win in 2006. La Russa ranks third all-time in career wins with 2,552 and the future Hall of Famer has spent 31 of his 65 years as a big-league manager.

We’ll see a leaner Yasiel Puig in 2017. Just like we did in 2016.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers tips his hat to Vin Scully as he announces his final home game for the Dodgers during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Yasiel Puig made a public appearance today. He was a guest barista at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Los Angeles as part of a charity . . . thing. I dunno. I just hope that, after finishing the foam on someone’s latte he airmailed it past his fellow barista at the counter and got it to the customer on the fly 300 feet away, after which he flipped the espresso machine. Gotta stay on-brand.

After that he talked about baseball. Puig, who was demoted last season and then brought back up in a part-time role, said that it’s his goal to be a starter again, if not in Los Angeles than someplace else. As for the someplace else, the Dodgers explored a Puig trade last season and it was thought they’d try again this offseason, but it’s been all quiet on that front.

What is Puig, for his part, doing to become a starter again? Getting in shape. From MLB.com:

Puig has been working out at Dodger Stadium the last two weeks. He is conditioning his leaner body to avoid injuries that have plagued him and working with batting coaches in search of regaining the impact bat that once had him on the verge of superstardom . . . The 6-foot-2 Puig, who last year was listed at 240 pounds, now has a personal chef to prepare healthier foods.

A leaner Puig. That’ll certainly be a game-changer, right?

Yet as a new season dawns, the team still hopes he can recapture the form he displayed as a rookie in 2013. The organization asked Puig to slim down and focus on durability rather than musculature. Friedman sounded pleased with the result. Puig had suggested he weighed about 240 pounds, down 15 from his listed weight in 2015.

Oops. That was from January 30, 2016.

If he keeps getting leaner each offseason eventually he’ll just disappear, right?

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.