UPDATE: Cardinals press conference: La Russa news?

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UPDATE:  Now the tweeterbugs are speculating that the press conference is not about Molina, but about La Russa.  The betting is the announcement that he’s going to return next year.

That would make more sense than a retirement announcement. For one thing he’s flying to New York today to do Letterman tonight and if he were retiring you figure he’d want to be around for all of the parties and thanks and hoopla that would entail. Coming back? That’s just a quickie announcement.  For another thing La Russa doesn’t strike me as a “leave on top” type. For yet another thing there’s a chance the Cardinals are better next year with Adam Wainwright coming back and everything so why not give it another go?

Anyway: we’ll know in a few minutes.

8:45 AM: The Cardinals have announced a 10AM Eastern/9AM Central press conference. No word on what it’s about, but you can probably assume that it’s not about Albert Pujols because, like, 500 people would have been “hearing this” and talking about talking to insiders and all of that jazz before now if it was.

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com speculates that the presser will be about Yadier Molina. Molina has a 2012 club option for $7 million which is one of the most brain-free no-brainers of the entire offseason.  The Cardinals probably just wanted to exercise it now before Molina cleans out his St. Louis place and heads to the Molina mothership or wherever it is he heads for the winter.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.