Dave Duncan to be away from Cardinals for all of 2012; Derek Lilliquist named pitching coach

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UPDATE: General manager John Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the Cardinals do not expect Duncan to return during the 2012 season, meaning Lilliquist will take over the job without an “interim” title.

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Longtime pitching coach Dave Duncan is taking an extended leave of absence from the Cardinals to be with his wife, who’s recovering from the removal of a brain tumor, and today the team announced that Derek Lilliquist will replace him in the role.

Lilliquist had been the Cardinals’ bullpen coach and was the person at the other end of the phone when Tony La Russa’s instructions about which relievers to warm up were misunderstood in Game 5 of the World Series. Prior to that Lilliquist filled in for Duncan during his initial leave of absence last season.

St. Louis also announced that Dyer Miller will replace Lilliquist as bullpen coach after previously serving as the Cardinals’ minor league pitching coordinator.

Video: With friends and family present, Brandon Nimmo hits inside-the-park homer at Coors Field

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The Mets opened up a four-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday night, the last leg of their 10-game road trip. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who grew up in nearby Wyoming, got his first start in Colorado, so he bought about 75 tickets for friends and family for the series, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Batting leadoff, Nimmo fittingly led off the game by hitting an inside-the-park home run, drilling an 0-2 cutter from Tyler Anderson to right-center field. The ball didn’t take the carom that right fielder Carlos Gonzalez expected, so Nimmo circled the bases easily to complete his 11th home run of the season.

The 25-year-old Nimmo has proven to be a spark plug for the underachieving Mets. Entering play Monday, he was batting .274/.402/.565 in 204 plate appearances. Nimmo hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday, helping the Mets overcome the Diamondbacks.