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"I watched some sessions and I said, `Wow, he really has a good approach,'" La Russa said. "He's got the whole thing -- mechanics, the power of the mind. So I asked him."
La Russa, who turned 65 on Oct. 4, had been assessing his interest in returning since the NL Central champion Cardinals were swept in the division series by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 10. His $8.5 million, two-year contract was to expire at the end of the month, and he said he finalized his decision last weekend.
"I would be here if Mark wasn't the coach," La Russa said. "The fact that he's here adds some more fire to the gut."
La Russa has produced eight playoff teams and the Cardinals have drawn 3 million-plus fans at home in 11 of his 14 seasons. He and DeWitt both said the one-year contract is better because La Russa reassesses his interest every year, and not because the manager is looking at 2010 as a farewell.
"I know there's an end in sight somewhere," La Russa said. "This is a great place to be. Past stars show up all the time. You've got to be a mummy not to be affected by that."
McRae was hitting coach for five seasons, but the team struggled offensively toward the end of the season and in the playoffs. The Cardinals hit .133 (4 for 30) with runners in scoring position in the postseason.
Pitching coach Dave Duncan also will return. He became upset with the organization, fans and reporters when his son, outfielder Chris Duncan, was traded to Boston in July. The Red Sox released Chris Duncan soon after the trade.
"Where he coaches, that's where I want to manage," La Russa said. "He's that good."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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