NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wants third baseman Scott Rolen back.
But only on the team's terms.
``He's got a contract to play, and we need him to play,'' La Russa said Wednesday at the baseball winter meetings. ``And he's going to be treated very honestly. If he plays hard and plays as well as he can, he plays. And if he doesn't, he can sit. If he doesn't like it, he can quit.''
La Russa and Rolen have been feuding at least since the 2006 postseason, when Rolen was benched while struggling with a shoulder injury. The spat lingered last season, and La Russa said Rolen was the lone dissenting voice when the manager was deciding whether to return for another year.
``It was unanimous that everyone was for me except him,'' La Russa said. ``It's gotten to the point where I don't care. What I care about is that he re-establish his stature as a major league productive star.''
La Russa said the organization has gone out of its way to show Rolen respect, and ``it's time for him to give back.''
``Scott's got a lot of goodness to him. ... I think he has been a team man. He plays a team sport. I don't think he's going to want to be the one guy and the 24 guys on the other side of the room.''
Rolen was fighting fatigue and soreness in his surgically repaired left shoulder when he hit .188 without an RBI in the first two rounds of 2006 NL playoffs. Saying Rolen's swing didn't look right, La Russa benched him for Game 2 of the NL championship series.
Rolen wasn't happy about it, and the two stopped talking to each other.
In the World Series, Rolen hit .421 with a homer, three doubles and two RBIs as the Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers in five games.
La Russa said Wednesday that Rolen asked for a trade, and the Cardinals are exploring their options. But he insisted that the team won't ``accommodate'' Rolen.
``There's absolutely no intention to accommodate Scott. I mean, that's not how you run an organization,'' La Russa said. ``The idea is to accommodate the St. Louis Cardinals, our team, our responsibility to our players and to the competition.
``So, no, I don't want to accommodate Scott. But somebody doesn't want to be part of the situation, you investigate it.''
The Los Angeles Dodgers are among those interested.
``They can make their inquiries,'' La Russa said. ``But the whole idea isn't to please Scott; it's to take care of the St. Louis Cardinals.''
After batting .296 with 22 homers and 95 RBIs in '06, Rolen dropped to .265, eight homers and 58 RBIs this season. Even so, La Russa said he wants him back.
``Nobody has more often said that I don't think Scott should be traded than me,'' La Russa said. ``I think he should be with our club. I think we need him. We need him to reassert himself as an impact player. I don't care what anybody wants in a trade. We need him and we expect him to be productive.''

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Braves vs. Giants Prediction Will the under cash again tonight for bettors when the Giants host the Braves at 10:05PM ET?
Thumbnail Cardinals vs. Rockies Prediction Can the Cardinals pull off the upset versus the Rockies tonight at 9:10PM ET in Colorado?
Thumbnail Cubs vs. Dodgers Prediction Following their loss last night, will the Cubs rebound with a win over the Dodgers tonight at 7:15PM ET?
Thumbnail Mets vs. Pirates Prediction Will Pirates' ace Gerrit Cole shut down the Mets tonight when the two teams clash at 7:15PM ET?
Thumbnail Orioles vs. Astros Pick Will the Baltimore Orioles continue their skid today when they face the Houston Astros...

MLB Team Pages