La Russa joins Diamondbacks

Updated: 2014-05-19 07:36

By Associated Press in Phoenix (China Daily)

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Tony La Russa has never missed the managing part of baseball since retiring in 2011. He did miss the competition and, most particularly, the winning.

That is what drew him back to the big leagues.

The Arizona Diamondbacks bolstered their front office by hiring La Russa as their chief baseball officer on Saturday, hoping the Hall of Fame manager can help turn around the team after one of the worst starts in franchise history.

"It's the first day I woke up and I felt a difference," La Russa said. "Because for the first time since then you're back with an organization and at the end of the day you're going to be judged by how well your contribution is to the organization's competition. That's how I grew up."

La Russa last worked as a manager in 2011, walking away after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to their second World Series title with him at the helm.

He spent time working for Major League Baseball as a special assistant to commissioner Bud Selig and was itching to get back into baseball on a day-to-day basis.

La Russa will report to Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall and oversee the entire baseball operations department.

He will work with general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson in shaping the future of the Diamondbacks, who were 17-29 after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 18-7 at home on Saturday.

"It is going to take time, but I think having him here and helping us lead this department, it looks good for us," Hall said.

"Any decisions that are going to be made personnel wise, he's going to have final say."

La Russa won three World Series titles and six league championships and was a four-time manager of the year in 33 seasons before retiring in 2011.

He is third with 2,728 wins as a manager and second with 70 postseason wins. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July.

(China Daily 05/19/2014 page23)

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