Report: Tony La Russa, Cards talk daily

ST. LOUIS -- A person with knowledge of the discussions said contract talks are going well between the St. Louis Cardinals and veteran manager Tony La Russa.

The person, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential, said La Russa is in daily discussions with the team about a new contract and a deal could be done soon.

The Cardinals finished a disappointing 86-76 last season following a late collapse. It was La Russa's 15th season with the team and he had a one-year deal.

The 66-year-old La Russa hasn't spoken publicly since the day after the season ended and general manager John Mozeliak hasn't commented at all.

The person told the AP sticking points in the talks could include security for La Russa's coaching staff.

La Russa has led St. Louis to the postseason eight times, but the Cardinals missed the playoffs for the third time in four years.

At the end of each of the last two seasons, La Russa left wondering if he had overstayed his welcome and whether players were still responding to his style of managing. Several prominent players, including Albert Pujols, though, said after this season that they wanted La Russa to return.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that pitching coach Dave Duncan wanted to return. Duncan has been with La Russa for 28 seasons.

"There's 25 guys in here that want him back and that's not sugar coating anything," shortstop Brendan Ryan said after the season finale. "He's our leader, he's the captain of the ship."

For the first time since 1996, La Russa's first year with the team, the manager drove home to northern California in an SUV jammed with items that had accumulated in his office. He quickly pointed out then that this wasn't the first step of an exit strategy.

Before departing, La Russa also talked optimistically about the future of the franchise, saying there was a lot of promise and that the cup was "mostly full."