ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Cardinals' dismissal of general manager Walt Jocketty last week has complicated the decision-making process for Tony La Russa, who is deliberating whether to return for a 13th season.
La Russa will wait for a GM to be hired before deciding whether to return for a 13th season, team spokesman Brian Bartow said Tuesday. La Russa's decision was first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on its Web site.
``The GM is the guy I would work for directly,'' La Russa was quoted as saying. ``So why would I get in a situation where the manager is not the guy who (the new general manager) would hire?''
La Russa told the Post-Dispatch that he made that point to team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. on Monday. La Russa said he had no problem with DeWitt's criteria for finding a new GM with experience in player development.
La Russa was hired by Jocketty after the 1995 season, and the two were together with the Oakland Athletics. Two days after leaving the team, Jocketty said La Russa had been ``surprised'' and ``probably disappointed'' in the decision to replace him.
John Mozeliak, the assistant GM under Jocketty the last five years, became interim GM when Jocketty was let go with a year remaining on his contract.
La Russa's three-year contract expired after the season. Even before that he was linked with openings elsewhere, and his name popped up recently as a potential successor to Joe Torre if the Yankees manager was fired.
La Russa, who did not return telephone messages from The Associated Press, took over the Cardinals following Torre, who was fired midway through the 1995 season. Jocketty fired Torre under a directive from Anheuser-Busch, which owned the franchise at the time. La Russa also is thought to be a possibility to succeed Torre in New York if the Yankees make a change.
Torre was popular as a player with the Cardinals, winning the NL MVP in 1971 after batting .363. His teams were shy of talent during his tenure as manager, which began in1990.
Cardinals president Mark Lamping said it was premature to discuss the situation.
``He's a Cardinal,'' Lamping said of Torre. ``I'm happy for all the success he's had since leaving St. Louis.''
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