McGwire ‘torn’ on whether to return to Cardinals

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We already know that Tony La Russa will return to managing the St. Louis Cardinals next season. But the future of hitting coach Mark McGwire is far less certain, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

La Russa on Monday referred to McGwire as “really torn” about whether to return for a second season as hitting coach following the birth June 1 of triplet daughters. McGwire, who has been asked back, last month raised the possibility of not returning because of family concerns. Those issues have become more obvious since McGwire rejoined his wife, Stephanie, and their five children in California, according to La Russa.

“He’s having a real tussle trying to figure it out. Coach? Father? We’ll see which way he goes,” La Russa said. “He’ll definitely be offered a chance to come back.”

I’m sure baseball wives get used to their husbands being away a lot of the time, but with four-month old triplet daughters as part of the equation, you can bet McGwire is getting the full-court press to help out on the home front.

So expect McGwire to sit out next season, unless he hires a nanny or three.

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Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”