Tony La Russa won’t manage the Cardinals tonight

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As Matthew mentioned, Tony La Russa went to have doctors check out the condition that has left his right eye swollen and painful and has left him fatigued.  The verdict: shingles, which are proving to be antibiotic resistant and which are making La Russa miserable.

As a result of it, La Russa is taking tonight’s game against the Cubs off.  According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his job will be filled with some combination of bench coach Joe Pettini, third-base coach Jose Oquendo and pitching coach Dave Duncan, each of whom “will run various aspects of game strategy.”  Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak will provide more detail later today. If you really want to see how ugly La Russa’s eye is, Strauss’ article has a pic.

It’s not clear how much time La Russa will miss, but given how stubborn he has been since this hit him — he has resisted pain medication due to the side effects and has declined previous suggestions to take time off — you have to figure that things have gotten pretty bad if he’s taking off a game. A Cubs game, no less.  It’s possible that he’ll be out for a while.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.