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.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.