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LaRussa wants game to regain respect

JUPITER, Fla. -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said it over and over Saturday: Baseball has no place for performance-enhancing drugs.

"I would agree with those who've said, 'No if, ands or buts -- zero tolerance,'" La Russa said as the Cardinals opened workouts. "If you could get the union to agree with that, that would be a step in the [right] direction."

La Russa has staunchly defended Mark McGwire, who refused to answer questions about steroids in baseball during a congressional hearing. La Russa managed McGwire in St. Louis and Oakland and has repeatedly said he never saw the slugger use performance-enhancing drugs.

"Back in those days, you start really scrutinizing more what each of us could have done," La Russa said. "We all share some of the blame for not being proactive."

La Russa, starting his 31st season as a major league manager, said he thinks everybody in the sport, from the league office to the owners, players and the union, should be working to bring credibility back to the game.

"If you agree that the goal is zero tolerance and one way to get there is to have punitive measures then you better have punitive measures," he said.

La Russa's comments come after Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez revealed he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 when he played for the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez was one of 104 players whose name showed up on a list of those who tested positive.

La Russa said he's not sure the other names should be made public.

"I don't know what the legal ramifications are, I don't know if that's possible," he said. "But to me it's real clear, if everybody agrees on zero tolerance and then you take it as far back as it goes, as far forward as you can take it. You own up to everything you have done and you say you are not going to be involved in anything going forward."