According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is taking a leave of absence from the team to be with his wife, who underwent surgery in August of last year to remove a brain tumor.
“As far as how long he’ll be gone, no one knows,” Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Thursday night.
The Cardinals’ front office is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday morning, with more details on the matter and perhaps some news about a temporary replacement.
Duncan is widely regarded as the best pitching coach in Major League Baseball. He worked alongside recently-retired manager Tony La Russa for 28 seasons with three different organizations.
UPDATE, 9:24 PM: Two St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters, Joe Strauss and Bernie Miklasz, are hearing that Duncan is stepping down from his job for good, not taking a leave of absence.
UPDATE, 9:29 PM: Miklasz says Duncan “will remain linked to the organization in another capacity,” and that bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist is expected to be promoted to the role of pitching coach.
UPDATE, 9:44 PM: According to MLB.com’s Matthew Leach, it is indeed being termed as a “leave of absence” by the Cardinals, who have released a short statement:
The Braves announced late this morning that the CT scan on Ronald Acuña’s left elbow came back clear and he is considered day-to-day.
As you have all heard by now, Acuña was pulled from Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins after taking a Jose Urena pitch off his elbow in the bottom of the first inning in what was quite obviously an intentional plunking. Acuña only suffered a bruise and some swelling. He missed all but that at bat of last night’s game and will likely sit out tonight’s game against the Rockies. It is expected that he’ll be back in action this weekend, however.
Acuña is batting .358/.425/.821 with 12 home runs, 24 RBI, and 25 runs scored over his last 25 games.