Dave Duncan, Jaime Garcia, Yadier Molina

Duncan hoping to remain with Cards for three more years

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The Cardinals still don’t know whether Tony La Russa will manage in 2011. But his longtime sidekick, pitching coach Dave Duncan, is locked in for at least one more year.

Duncan told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday that he would like to coach for three more seasons in St. Louis before retiring.

“The ideal situation would not be to coach in St. Louis for one more year then find another place for two more years,” Duncan said. “The ideal situation would be to coach three years in the same place.”

Duncan has voiced frustration in the past about the organization’s handling of the minor league ranks and a lack of a club-wide pitching philosophy, but those issues have mostly been cleared up and the 65-year-old former catcher is now consulted by farm director Josh Vuchs on nearly every pitching-relate move.

Duncan has served as a pitching coach in the major leagues for close to 30 seasons now and is surely ready for an extended vacation, but his rotation in 2011 will feature two Cy Young Award candidates in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, and also young left-hander Jaime Garcia. If the Cardinals manage to work out a deal with free agent righty Jake Westbrook, even better.

Walt Weiss returning as Rockies manager in 2016

Walt Weiss
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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As first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies have decided to bring back manager Walt Weiss for the 2016 season — the final year of a three-year deal he signed after his debut season in 2013.

Weiss carries a rough 208-278 managerial record through his first three years at the helm for Colorado, but it’s not like the rosters he’s been managing have been built to win.

The biggest need for the Rockies this winter is pitching — both starters and relievers — and general manager Jeff Bridich is also being retained for the 2016 season to try to find some.

Colorado’s starters and relievers combined for a 5.04 ERA in 2015, worst in MLB.

Colorado’s offense produced 737 runs, ranking fifth in the major leagues.

Astros flashing power early in AL Wild Card Game

Colby Rasmus
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Houston got on the board first in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium when Colby Rasmus led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to deep right field against Masahiro Tanaka.

It was the first career postseason homer for Rasmus, whose only other postseason experience came in 2009 with St. Louis. He slugged 25 home runs during the 2015 regular season and will be looking to cash in as a free agent whenever the Astros’ postseason runs come to an end. A big October (and perhaps early November) would obviously help that.

Tanaka retired the next two batters after the Rasmus bomb, but he gave up a single and two walks to load the bases before eventually inducing an inning-ending fielder’s choice groundout from Jose Altuve. Tanaka’s shakiness extended into the third and fourth innings, with Carlos Gomez adding a solo shot to left field in the top of the fourth.

Houston leads 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Astros starter Dallas Keuchel has looked sharp on three days of rest, tallying five strikeouts through four scoreless frames.