Cubs

World Series manager calls it quits

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World Series manager calls it quits

From Comcast SportsNet

ST. LOUIS (AP)Tony La Russa retired as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, three days after winning a dramatic, seven-game World Series against the Texas Rangers.

The 67-year-old La Russa announced his retirement at a news conference at Busch Stadium.

The World Series win over Texas was the third of La Russas 33-year career. The manager guided the Cardinals to the championship despite being 10 12 games behind Atlanta on Aug. 25 for the final playoff spot in the National League.

La Russa retires third on the all-time wins list, 35 behind second-place John McGraw. In addition to this season, he won championships in Oakland in 1989 and St. Louis in 2006.

Other than some of personal attachments, I feel good, La Russa said. I feel good that this is the right decision.

La Russa said there wasnt a single factor that led to his decision, but he began having doubts about returning for 2012 midway through the season. In late August he told general manager John Mozeliak and other team officials.

La Russa said the timing of those discussionsabout the time the Cardinals appeared to be out of wild card contention before their miraculous runwas pure coincidence. He said he simply felt it was time to go, a feeling that didnt change even as the Cardinals squeaked into the playoffs on the final day of the season, then upset the Phillies, Brewers and Rangers.

I think this just feels like its time to end it, La Russa said.

He spoke with little emotion at the news conference with one exception, when he paused to compose himself as he thanked his wife, Elaine, and two daughters for putting up without him over much of the past 33 years. But he did say his meeting with players after Sundays parade and celebration was short but emotional.

Some grown men cried, La Russa said, then he joked, I kind of liked that because they made me cry a few times.

Mozeliak said work is under way to find a new manager for the first time since La Russa was hired prior to the 1996 season. A search committee will be formed. Mozeliak did not speculate on how long the process might take.

La Russa answered flatly, No, when asked if hell ever manage again. He also said he had no plans to be a general manager, but said he is open to some sort of baseball job in the future.

Maybe open a book store, he said.

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

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USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

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Why Alex DeBrincat breaking out of scoring slump is important for Blackhawks

Why Alex DeBrincat breaking out of scoring slump is important for Blackhawks

Alex DeBrincat has been snake-bitten all season long. The scoring chances have been there, but the goal production has not and it’s been weighing on the 22-year-old winger.

But on Friday, DeBrincat reminded the city of Chicago why the Blackhawks signed him to a three-year, $19.2 million extension in October.

DeBrincat turned in one of his best performances of the season by leading the team in shot attempts (10), shots on goal (8), slot shots (6) and scoring chances generated off the rush (3), according to Sportlogiq. Most importantly, he had his first multi-goal game of the season, which included the overtime winner to give the Blackhawks their second win in nine games and first victory at home since Jan. 19.

"I feel like I’ve had a lot [of pucks] hit the post and gotten a lot of chances lately and they went in tonight," DeBrincat said following a 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators. "It’s nice.”

DeBrincat is and always has been a streaky goal scorer, but this has easily been the most challenging season of his young NHL career. It’s the first time he’s faced real adversity at the professional level, going through 12- and eight-game goalless droughts earlier in the season.

In his rookie season, DeBrincat (29) edged out Patrick Kane (27) for the team lead in goals. He followed that up with a 41-goal campaign, which only 11 players accomplished last season.

Despite scoring only 14 goals through his first 60 games this season, DeBrincat has tried to maintain a positive attitude. But it’s certainly been difficult.

"I’m trying to stay even as possible," DeBrincat said. "I think getting down on yourself isn’t really going to help anything. For me, I’ve just been trying to keep working on it. Obviously, you get frustrated at times but try to stay as positive as possible."

While time is running out for the Blackhawks to make a playoff push, it’s still encouraging to see DeBrincat break out of his scoring slump because he’s the kind of player who lives and breathes hockey away from the rink. And the last thing the Blackhawks want or need is to have DeBrincat carry a negative feeling with him into the summer and overthink what may have gone wrong.

Perhaps Friday's game could open up the floodgates for DeBrincat, whose shooting percentage of 9.0 this season is well short of his 14.7 percent career average.

"I feel like we've been getting some chances the past three or four games and he's hit a couple posts and had some good looks," Dylan Strome said. "Nice to see him capitalize on a few of those chances. ... It obviously just builds your confidence then he does that in overtime, so that's good."

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