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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Tony La Russa takes issue with union over Albert Pujols talks

By Cindy Boren

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa had strong words for the MLB Players Association as the deadline for signing Albert Pujols to a contract extension bore down.

La Russa, discussing the negotiations at spring training in Jupiter, Fla., said the union is trying to "beat up" Pujols and his agent so that Pujols will sign a record-setting contract. Calling that "bull [expletive]," La Russa added, "That's not the way it should be."

"I'm not saying that if I was a union representative I would do it differently," La Russa said, via ESPN's Jayson Stark. "I'm just saying I think it diminishes the other factors that a player looks at. ... I think each negotiation should be based on what's the best decision -- taking everything into account, not taking one thing into account."

Because Pujols, who has a Wednesday deadline for reaching a deal with the Cardinals, is a player who can raise the bar on salaries for all players, as well as considering his legacy in baseball and St. Louis, the union applies undue pressure, La Russa said, calling it "not just arm-twisting. It's dropping an anvil on your back through the roof of your house."

The pressure, according to La Russa, is nothing new. "It's gone on since I started managing. And I don't think they'd deny it."

Michael Weiner, executive director of the players union, told Stark, "The truth is we've had no conversations with Albert or Danny [Lozano, Pujols' agent] or anybody on Albert's behalf about the numbers in this negotiation. None. It's never been the union's policy to pressure players and certainly it's never been the union's policy to pressure players because they have to set the bar for other players."

By Cindy Boren  | February 15, 2011; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  MLB  
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If only LaRussa would have stood up to the Union when his players were injecting themselves with steroids. It is funny that LaRussa has not won anything without players who juice. Yet the media lets him slide with his pathetic excuses that he was not aware of what was going on in his clubhouse.

Posted by: mjwies11 | February 15, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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