Months-long issues between Rolen, La Russa continue

Updated: January 18, 2007, 9:25 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa is saying great things about Scott Rolen this winter. The St. Louis Cardinals manager just isn't saying them to his star third baseman.

Caught up in a feud during the Cardinals' run to the World Series, the two strong-willed personalities have been silent around each other since winning the championship.

"We haven't talked, we haven't spoken," Rolen said. "I went home and we went about our lives. I don't think there's a conversation that's going to take place."

Rolen was absent from a fans' dinner in St. Louis this week because of a conflict. La Russa accepted an award in the All-Star's place.

"I love Scott Rolen," La Russa said.

When a glove autographed by Rolen was auctioned, La Russa began the bidding at $1,000.

Their problems started in the stretch when Rolen ignored advice from La Russa and the team's medical staff. Rolen insisted on playing despite being hampered by soreness in his surgically repaired left shoulder, and he slumped in September.

Rolen began the playoffs in a 1-for-15 rut, prompting La Russa to bench the Gold Glover in two games.

"I learned from that experience that I'm a pretty stubborn, hardheaded guy," Rolen said. "I thought, I'll try to remember that on Sept. 4 instead of October."

Rolen bounced back in the World Series, leading the Cardinals with a .421 average, 14 total bases and five runs scored as they beat Detroit in five games.

"When he's healthy, he's proven that if he can play enough years he will join the great Cardinals in the Hall of Fame," La Russa said. "We're really hoping he has that kind of season and career for us."

A month away from the start of spring training, Rolen said he's feeling fine.

"I'm a different guy sitting here today than last offseason when I was hopeful and optimistic," Rolen said. "I'm doing everything I've done in the past. I'm totally free from any limitations."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press