ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 3: Pitching coach Dave Duncan #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals meets with Yadier Molina #4, Jaime Garcia #54, and Ryan Theriot #3 also of the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 3, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Dave Duncan To Step Down As St. Louis Cardinals Pitching Coach

The St. Louis Cardinals coaching staff will look much different in 2012 without Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan.

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Dave Duncan Stepping Down From St. Louis Cardinals Pitching Coach Job

In a pretty unexpected move, St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan has reportedly decided to step down from his current role with the team, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Duncan has been the pitching coach in St. Louis since 1995, and is generally considered to be one of the best coaches in the entire sport.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Duncan is leaving the team to spend time with his wife, Jeanne, who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor on Aug. 21 of last year. The Cardinals are unsure of how long Duncan's absence will last, adding more uncertainty to a coaching staff that's already headed by newly minted manager Mike Matheny.

A formal announcement of Duncan's departure from the team will be announced by the Cardinals on Friday, and they intend to leave open the possibility for his return at some later date. Last season when Duncan missed time to be with his wife after the surgery, bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist filled the role of pitching coach. It's unclear at this point whether Matheny will opt to go that route again.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El Birdos. Visit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.

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St. Louis Cardinals Interview Terry Francona For Cardinals Manager Position

The Boston sports radio station WEEI is reporting the St. Louis Cardinals have brought in former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona in to interview for the open 2012 Cardinals manager position:

According to a major league source, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona is scheduled to interview for the St. Louis Cardinals' vacant managerial position Tuesday.

Long-time manager Tony La Russa retired last week following the Cardinals' wild World Series win, beginning what promises to be an interesting Cardinals off-season.

Among the Cardinal's objectives over the next few months, they must acquire a new manager, and they need to deal with Albert Pujols and their first base situation -- as well as sort through some of their smaller free agency departure such as Rafael Furcal.

Last week, former Cardinals infielder David Eckstein suggested that Pujols would return to St. Louis if the team made current third base coach Jose Oquendo the new manager, but it appears the major impasse with the Cardinals-Pujols negotiations involves the dollar amount, not the manager personnel.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El Birdos. Visit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.

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St. Louis Cardinals To Interview Terry Francona, Ryne Sandberg, Among Others

St. Louis Today is reporting the St. Louis Cardinals begin their search for a new manager today, interviewing no more than nine candidates in search for Tony La Russa's replacement. Among the names including in their search are recently released Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona and former Chicago Cubs great Ryne Sandberg.

According to Today, the list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Terry Francona -- Francona led the Red Sox for eight seasons, twice guiding them to World Series championships. His departure from Boston does not come without controversy, however, as he presided over the 2011 Red Sox, which saw it's 9.5 game lead collapse in the month of September amid allegations of lackadaisical and apathetic behavior from players in the dugout and locker room.
  • Ryne Sandberg -- The Hall of Fame second baseman played an impressive 15 seasons with the Cardinals' rival Cubs, and has been managing in the minor leagues since 2007. The Cardinals recently received permission from the Philadelphia Phillies -- for whom he presently works -- to interview Sandberg. Ryno built a reputation as being good with young players, but some have worried he may rub veterans the wrong way.
  • José Oquendo -- Former middle infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, Oquendo has served as the Cards' third base for over a decade and is no stranger to manager interviews. He has some minor league managerial experience and also served as Puerto Rico's manager twice in the World Baseball Classic.
  • Chris Maloney -- A minor league manager for 20 years, Maloney most recently served as manager for the Memphis Redbirds, the Cards' Triple-A affiliate.
  • Mike Matheny -- The former four-time gold glove catcher Mike Matheny has previously served as a special adviser to the Cardinals, but does not have managerial experience.
  • Joe McEwing -- McEwing, currently the third base coach for the Chicago White Sox, played nine season in the majors as a utility player, first breaking into the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals who drafted him. He has been coaching and managing in the minors for three seasons.

Interestingly, the Cardinals have elected to not pursue either manager Joe Maddon or bench coach Dave Martinez, two managerial candidates with the Tampa Bay Rays considered top choices by the media.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Viva El Birdos, SB Nation's St. Louis Cardinals blog.

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