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La Russa's loyalty undivided in St. Louis

D-backs chief baseball officer pulling for current team in former home

ST. LOUIS -- There are a lot of great memories for Tony La Russa in this town from his long tenure as Cardinals manager, but as D-backs chief baseball officer, he will not have any divided loyalties during the three-game series.

"I think when you look at their record and our record, we need the wins more than they do," La Russa said. "So that's an easy reminder that this is all about the Diamondbacks winning the series, respecting them, but you know it's that practiced state of mind. You can look back sometimes at your leisure and enjoy the memories and see past relationships, but when you're in the moment like in the game, it's a good kind of distraction, you clear it all out. I won't have any trouble pulling for the Diamondbacks today."

This is the first trip to St. Louis that La Russa has made as a member of the D-backs. After his hiring last May, he skipped the team's trip to St. Louis because he feared he would be too much of a distraction. He has been back to Busch Stadium for events since.

Tweet from @Dbacks: Tony La Russa visits St. Louis for the first time with the #Dbacks.

La Russa, who managed the Cardinals to a pair of World Series championships and 1,408 wins in his 16 seasons with them, chatted with current St. Louis skipper Mike Matheny and third-base coach Jose Oquendo while the D-backs took batting practice.

"They told me that we're catching them at a good time because they're banged up," La Russa said of the Cardinals, who are without the services of some of their regulars. "But I said it doesn't make an difference, they play with the guys they have. They just play the game hard and right with the guys that play. They're never at a disadvantage."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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