Tony La Russa is in the playoffs for the 11th time as a manager. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa is one of baseball's best-compensated managers, but he's having so much fun that he might not require the big bucks in 2005.
"I tell you what," he said to a group of St. Louis reporters before Thursday night's National League Division Series game. "If we win the world championship, I'll manage for free. You can write it. It's the truth."
That may have been a bit of an exaggeration for La Russa, whose contract expires after this season, but the point remained. He's enjoying himself as much as ever -- especially managing postseason games, and especially in baseball-crazy St. Louis.
"Part of the enjoyment of this thing is to, every once in a while, look around and check the scene out," he said. "It's such a wonderful experience. It's a treat to be a part of it. Absolutely.
"But you better just do that a little bit. ... Just because you'd be a fool to not understand everything that goes on with it. Right now, it's all about finding a way to take our best shot tonight. There isn't anything else."
Same lineup: La Russa went with an almost identical lineup in Game 2 as in Game 1. The only change was to switch Edgar Renteria and Jim Edmonds, putting them sixth and fifth, respectively, after they were in the opposite order in the opener. That's par for the course, as Renteria bats fifth against left-handed pitchers and Edmonds fifth against righties.
The lineup should remain the same for the time being, which is something of a change from the regular season. Often, La Russa rested Reggie Sanders and played John Mabry, Marlon Anderson, So Taguchi or Roger Cedeno in his place, depending on matchups. But he said that was more about getting Sanders some down time than getting other players in the lineup.
"I think there's a couple of games a week that he should rest," he said. "He puts a lot into games. His legs are a big part of it. So that's what you're doing."
Times announced: Despite some rumors that the Cards might be playing late at night, St. Louis time, that will not be the case. On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced the start times and television broadcast plans for the remainder of the Division Series.
Saturday's Game 3 at Dodger Stadium is set for a 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch and will be televised nationally on the FOX network (KTVI, channel 2, in St. Louis). Game 4 on Sunday, if necessary, will start at 3:09 p.m. CT and would be carried on ESPN2. However, if both American League Division Series have ended before Sunday, then that game would be moved back to 6:30 p.m. CT.
Carp update: The latest news on Chris Carpenter is, unfortunately, the same: there is no news. Carpenter still has not progressed enough in his recovery from nerve irritation in his right arm to be able to begin a throwing program. The unusual injury remains something of a mystery to the Cardinals' training and medical staff.
Chris Carpenter / P
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"We don't have any past experience to say most of these come back in four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, 10 weeks," trainer Barry Weinberg said on Thursday. "We will be a test case. At the end of this, we'll tell you how long it was, instead of how long it's gonna be."
Once Carpenter can throw again, it's equally unclear how much time he would need to get ready for game competition.
"It's something where you sit down with [pitching coach Dave Duncan] and Carp and see how many days you need," said Weinberg. "But he's not ready to throw yet, so it doesn't matter. Once he's ready, then we can sit down and see how long it's gonna take."
King confident: Ray King has lived up to his reputation as one of the most quotable Cardinals, appearing in the interview room before both games of the series. On Thursday, he weighed in on the value of experience in the postseason. The Cardinals are in their fourth playoffs in five years, while Los Angeles is playing in the postseason for the first time since 1996.
"It isn't my first time in the playoffs," said King. "You go in that first game, you get a little jitters going. Some of the veteran guys take a look at some guys and tell if they're nervous or not nervous, just from their demeanor on the mound. Some guys pick up on it real well, some guys don't, but it's a situation where I feel confident in our lineup because we have a lot of guys that have been there."
King, for the record, is in his second postseason. He pitched in four games for Atlanta last year.
PCL realignment: The Pacific Coast League announced realignment on Thursday. Memphis, the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, will play in the new North Division of the American Conference. Until now, the Redbirds had been a part of the Central Division. Joining Memphis in the new division are Iowa (Cubs), Omaha (Royals) and Nashville (Brewers).
Fall League update: Cardinals outfield prospect Reid Gorecki hit a home run for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday. Gorecki also singled and walked in the Solar Sox's 3-3 tie. Carmen Cali, who saw time with the Major League club in September, allowed a hit and struck out five in 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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