02/16/11 5:43 PM EST
La Russa stands by comments about union
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Twenty-four hours after lamenting what he felt was excessive pressure placed by the union on star players in contract negotiations, La Russa stood by his comments. On Tuesday, La Russa said that he believed the union's tactics were "not arm-twisting, [but] dropping anvils on your back."
In response, players union chief Michael Weiner told The Associated Press and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that not only was there no pressure placed on Pujols, but that the MLBPA hadn't even talked to Pujols or his agent, Dan Lozano. The disagreement became national news, but La Russa said he did not have second thoughts about either what he said or how he said it.
"I saw [this] was kind of omitted -- I said if I was running the union or part of the union, I'm not sure I'd have handled it any different," La Russa said. "I checked with some of our veteran coaches, and it strains credibility a little bit to think that there hasn't been any contact or mention of Albert. He's too significant. I don't second-guess the union. I'm just saying, to me, it's exactly what I said yesterday, and that's it. It's a big decision, and you ought to be able to look at all the factors, not one more, and none others."
Valdes gets right to work at Cards camp
JUPITER, Fla. -- Left-hander Raul Valdes arrived at Cardinals camp on Wednesday and dived right in.
Valdes, who reported three days late because of complications with his work visa, arrived at the Roger Dean Stadium complex on Wednesday morning. He threw a bullpen session on his first day in camp, meaning he missed only one throw relative to his teammates.
That shouldn't be much of an issue anyway, since Valdes had a busy winter. He pitched quite a bit in the Dominican Winter League and even in the Caribbean Series, so he is much closer to regular-season shape than many others in Cardinals camp.
Valdes is likely to be assigned to Triple-A Memphis, but if things go well, he could conceivably compete for a spot in the Cardinals' Major League bullpen.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday morning that he does not anticipate any late arrivals to camp among the Cardinals' infielders and outfielders. ... La Russa also said that he expected to speak with Jim Edmonds on Wednesday afternoon or evening, and he might have an update on the veteran outfielder's status on Thursday. ... Several members of the Cardinals' front office attended Wednesday's news conference regarding the Albert Pujols negotiations, including assistant general manager Mike Girsch, farm director John Vuch, head of player procurement Jeff Luhnow and special assistant to the general manager Matt Slater.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.