Tony La Russa returns to Cardinals after six-game absence

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UPDATE: As expected, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Tony La Russa has rejoined the Cardinals and will manage tonight’s game.

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Drew wrote yesterday about how Tony La Russa is feeling better after leaving the Cardinals to have his shingles treated and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that La Russa ” is expected to return to the dugout for tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.”

La Russa has missed six games while being examined at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, but general manager John Mozeliak told Strauss that the manager could be cleared to return today: “The condition isn’t going to progress. It’s more about what Tony can tolerate.”

Strauss writes that La Russa has been in constant contact with fill-in manager Joe Pettini and felt good enough to tape radio and television shows yesterday. In his absence the Cardinals are 2-4, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds.

Report: Mets sign Wilson Ramos to two-year, $19 million deal

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The Mets have signed catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, SNY’s Andy Martino reports. The total value of the contract is $19 million, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Ramos, 31, split last season between the Rays and Phillies, putting up one of the best offensive seasons among catchers. In 416 total plate appearances, he hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.

Ramos will presumably get the lion’s share of plate appearances behind the plate with Travis d'Arnaud backing him up. Grandal was made a qualifying offer, so the Mets would have had to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. And, of course, Realmuto would have cost prospects. Ramos simply costs money.

The Mets were aggressively pursuing a catching upgrade, having been involved in rumors surrounding J.T. Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal, but ultimately settled on Ramos. New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made a significant impact on the team already, having also added second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from a trade with the Mariners.