Tony La Russa's Friday Comments

The Cards' manager discussed a wide variety of topics before and after Friday's game.

Pre-game remarks

On Luna's demotion.

He's not been comfortable and confident. I want to see how he plays…What he gives us is that he's really a multi-talented player who can handle occasional play. Fortunately, I speak Spanish, so I think he understood. I told him he'd be the first option but only if he goes down there and goes about it right.

On the Memphis infield.

He's (Luna) going to play second base every day, just at that one place. Nelson's playing well, so we have two prospects playing. Bo's been struggling, so this will give him a little break.

On his influence on who plays in Triple-A.

They ask my opinion.

On Molina bunting Thursday down 4-1.

He was bunting for a base hit. They (the Brewers) were back. A bunt was a good play. He wasn't bunting for a sacrifice. A sacrifice wasn't a good play. But, if he gets a ball by him, it's a hit. I think he saw the guy back and had a shot. All you've got to do is look in his eyes and he didn't give it up. He's frustrated about his average, but he is in good shape.

On playing Einar Diaz.

I'll play him when I need him to play. Right now, everybody's fresh. With the catcher we have, we're pitching like hell, so I think we'll keep him in there. But, I am sure Diaz will get a game on this road trip. I don't know if it will be more than one, but it will be one.

On whether it is tough for Cedeno against top pitchers.

He's got one of those tough roles. His job is to come off the bench most of the time. You can't make that easy.

On Kevin Jarvis' role.

You're not going to run Journell out there like a rubber-armed guy. So, the day he's ready to go, you look at who is available and go from there. I think he needs to be ready to pitch from early in the game to the middle of the game and maybe even late.

On who closes.

The answer I've been practicing for a couple of days is that Tavarez and King both have experience and where possible, I will try to get them to finish it up. But, they may pitch in the seventh and eighth, if that is where you think you're going to need them.

On defense up the middle.

We're playing as well at second and short and catcher as last year. These guys are great. And, the guys love Yadier; everybody's getting to know Mark. We're in pretty good shape.

On what has surprised him about Eckstein.

I don't know that you should be surprised, but you don't appreciate just how tough he is. He stands in there at second base. He really has huge cajones. And that makes your club look good, when you have a guy out there playing like that – gung-ho – you look better.

On Izzy.

I heard he had another good day.

On whether Pujols' bat is all the way back.

Let's talk about it Sunday afternoon. We have three pretty good tests here. He's coming in better, staying on the ball. It's the best he's been all year. You saw some of the line drives he hit.

Post-game remarks

On why he came out of the dugout to talk with the umpires.

It looked to me like on the pickoff move when they got Cedeno, I thought I saw his left knee break. I just asked the one (umpire) who had the best shot at it. We discussed it.

On Hudson.

You have to compete on every at-bat. He has so many weapons. Walker's bunt single – that opens the chance for a big inning. We could go about it the same way next time and he'd shut us out. He had a lot of really good pitches, but he made some mistakes and we got him.

On using three pitchers in the ninth.

He (Tavarez) had already pitched the eighth. I thought it was time to get him. You never know how it is going to go. You just "What if?" it and it turned out.

On the defense behind Mulder.

He got a couple of double plays that were really important. But, they did as well. We had a couple of chances to do some stuff and they made some plays.

On Mulder.

I give him high marks for competitiveness. Sometimes you have to go out there without your best. But, that's no excuse for not doing exactly what he did. It was a hard game for him. That is why I tell you that we don't pay attention to pitch counts. He was done when he came out. If he hadn't gotten the last hitter, that would have been it. He wasn't going to face the next hitter.

On what Grudzielanek did differently as he started to hit recently.

Looks like he did his whole career – a .300 hitter. Tough out.

On whether he enjoyed the game.

Hell, no! You know how my stomach feels?

On whether it was a manager's game.

That'd be nice, but it's the players.

On the bullpen.

It's not often you can come into here with two guys on in the ninth inning with no outs and not come away with a loss. It was a great piece of pitching from the three guys who got the outs.

On the team not having given up a ninth-inning run all season.

Shhh. I am superstitious. You know what I mean?

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