Tony La Russa: “I’m embarrassed that I crossed the line”

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MLB slapped Tony La Russa with an undisclosed fine yesterday for his in-game remarks about the umpiring in Game 2 and the Cardinals manager quietly accepted his punishment, saying he had “no disagreement at all” with the decision.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch the fine was “four figures” after La Russa questioned the strike zone during a between-innings dugout interview with TBS. Here’s what La Russa said about the punishment:

As soon as MLB called, my response was, “Whatever is imposed, you’ll get no argument.” I’m embarrassed that I crossed the line. I know what the line is. I got upset and I crossed the line. If I get a chance, I will apologize to [umpire] Jerry [Meals]. Like I said, I’ve never had any problems with him. He’s a pro. He has my utmost respect. We were competing, and I got upset and crossed the line. So whatever they throw at me I … just take it. I deserve it.

Coming back from an early deficit to win Game 2 probably made accepting the fine a little easier for La Russa, particularly since he prefaced his criticism of Jerry Meals by saying it “could get me in trouble.” Either way, he deserves credit for taking the high road.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.