If this story doesn't make your day, I don't know what will.
Tony La Russa was arrested Thursday night after police found him passed out drunk at a stop light in his SUV.
Two Jupiter, Florida undercover police officers found the 62-year-old St. Louis Cardinals manager parked partly in an intersection, his vehicle running with his foot on the brake around midnight. After he failed to go through two green lights, the cops knocked on his window, but he did not respond.
When he eventually woke up, the officers asked him to get out of the car. La Russa was then hauled in on a drunken driving charge after taking two breath tests with a blood alcohol content of .093%, just a bit over the legal limit of .08%.
He was arrested and booked at the Palm Beach County jail on the misdemeanor, then was released at about 8:30 a.m. after posting a $500 cash bond. By now, he's either sleeping it off or getting bitched at by his wife.
La Russa is a four-time manager of the year and led the Cardinals to a World Series championship last season. He also won the title in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics and has won three other pennants. His 2,297 wins over 28 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, A's and Cardinals is third all-time. Now he can add Idiot Drunk Driver to his resume.
Editor's Note: In all seriousness, driving drunk is one of the most retarded things a person can do. We hope Mr. La Russa won't take this lightly and never get busted again.
St. Louis Cardinals righty reliever Josh Kinney will likely miss the entire 2007 season after having ligament-replacement surgery on his pitching elbow.
As a top candidate for setup relief the season, Kinney first tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching forearm one year ago. The tear has grown increasingly worse, so doctors will surgically replace it with a tendon from his left wrist; the recovery taking about 10 months off of his career.
After pitching three innings Monday, Kinney said he could not flex his arm fully. He had an MRI scan Tuesday, and team doctors diagnosed the injury Thursday.
Last season, Kinney pitched 25 innings in 21 games with a 3.24 ERA.
Scrappy, leadoff-hitting shortstop David Eckstein will miss up to two weeks of Grapefruit League action with pain in his left side. The Cardinals will be very careful not to rush him back, as he missed nearly a month with a similar injury last season.
Eckstein said he felt no discomfort this spring until Wednesday's opener against the Florida Marlins, and he's not sure how he got hurt. ?
[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
C'mon. Who else would kick-off our National League Previews but the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals?
There may be a little uncertainty surrounding the Cards' starting five, but one thing's for sure: Ace Chris Carpenter, the 2005 Cy Young winner, is pretty much secure and veteran Kip Wells' name is damn near written in ink. Beyond that? Adam Wainwright will either have a shot at the rotation or be tossed in the back of the bullpen (depending on the health of Isringhausen) and Anthony Reyes will probably take one of the two remaining slots.
Right-hander Braden Looper may be the favorite for the fifth spot, but Ryan Franklin and Brad Thompson, as well as rookie lefty Chris Narveson, will get the chance to compete. But when May and June roll around, Mark Mulder, who had shoulder surgery last fall, is expected to bump someone out of that lineup, depending on everyone's performances up to that point.
Jason Isringhausen is the franchise's career saves leader, with 173 in a Birds uni. He will enter this season as a question mark, though, after missing the last part of the regular season and all of the postseason with a hip injury.
The exceptional depth in the bullpen, aside from Looper and Thompson, stems from both sides with second-year reliever Josh Kinney, new acquisition Russ Springer and holdover Josh Hancock, all three rising strikeout pitchers. Ricardo Rincon hopes to return after missing most of 2006 due to major arm surgery, but in his absence, Tyler Johnson emerged as a dependable option alongside Randy Flores. With this kind of pitching depth, the Cardinals could be in a good spot to trade for another bat or starting pitcher, if needed down the line.
Health is the primary concern in the outfield, with Jim Edmonds' in question after offseason shoulder and toe surgery and Juan Encarnacion recovering from an operation on his left wrist. And while Chris Duncan provided a big bat in 2006 with 22 homers, skepticism remains regarding his ability to repeat that kind of production. On the up-side, you don't see Edmonds' Gold Glove defense and 40-home-run power in the same package very often. Encarnacion is reliable year in and year out for 15-20 homers, a few steals and some amazing defensive plays and Duncan could be a 30-homer man. So Taguchi and Skip Schumaker offer sharp defense as well, with Preston Wilson recently signing on for another year at a backup. All three will have a shot at the designated hitter spot.
No questions up the middle, though. Scrappy World Series MVP David Eckstein will return along with Adam Kennedy and his spankin' new three-year contract. Aaron Miles and youngster Brendan Ryan will be there to back things up.
The Cardinals may have the best corners in the majors in Albert Pujols at first and Scott Rolen at third. Possibly the most comforting aspect of this duo is that they're locked down through 2010, with Pujols having a 2011 option, as well. Scott Spiezio, meanwhile, has hopefully gotten rid of that horrid red soul patch and is ready to return at backup.
After a regular season in which he took a giant step back offensively, catcher Yadier Molina was one of the Cardinals' best postseason players. He batted .358 with immense power, including the single biggest hit of the playoffs - the game-winning shot in Game 7 of the NLCS. He will return as head backstop in front of Gary Bennett, a right-handed hitter whose greatest asset is his defense.
St. Louis' bench is so plentiful, that the DH position has been up for grabs for the past few years. Last year it belonged to Spiezio and the year before that, Abraham Nunez. This year, Tony La Russa has confidence that Wilson will provide a huge right-handed swing, John Rodriguez a tough lefty bat and Taguchi, handling the bat better than either, will be just as great a defender in the outfield.
The Cardinals finished the 2006 season with an 83-78 record, 49-31 at home. There is room for improvement on the road though, as they had a 34-47 losing record away from Busch Stadium. Look for the Birds to work hard against division rival Houston to keep the title, as they finished only a game and a half in front of the Astros last year.
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Preston Wilson agreed Monday to a one-year, $1 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals after helping them win their first world championship in over two decades.
After leaving the Houston Astros as a free agent, the 32-year-old outfielder signed with the Birds in August and hit .243 with eight homers and 17 RBIs in 32 games, providing some depth to all outfield positions. Wilson's best season came in 2003, when he hit 36 longballs and tallied 141 RBIs for the Colorado Rockies.
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A career 80-96 pitcher, Ponson went 4-5 with a 6.25 ERA in 2006 with the Cards, who released him in July. He was then picked up by the Yankees, who tossed him after just two starts. He has seen his ERA rise over each of the last three seasons, after going 17-12 with a 3.75 ERA with Baltimore and San Francisco in 2003.
The hope is that pitching coach Rick Anderson will be able to re-mold Ponson into the innings-eating pitcher he once was, to give the Twins more depth to their rotation. GM Terry Ryan believes that maybe just a change of scenery is all that would be needed to help these two players.
"This is an opportunity for him to compete for one of our rotation spots with a host of others, and he is still just 30 years old," Ryan said. "It wasn't too long ago that he threw well over 200 innings. We feel like we are a good fit for him and I thought it certainly was worth taking a shot at bringing in a guy that has the Major League experience that he has."
Voyles, 30, was limited to just three starts for Memphis last season due to knee problems. He has been pitching in Venezuela during the Winter League and has proven himself healthy, going 1-2 with a 2.78 ERA in five starts. He also has some Major League experience, having spent parts of three seasons with the Royals from 2001-03 with a career 0-4 record and a 6.45 ERA.
The Twins have had some recent success with pitchers who have been shuffled around throughout their career. Dennys Reyes, for example, emerged as one of the best left-handed relievers in the league after struggling to find a fit with other teams.
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