Diamondbacks hire Tony La Russa

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

PHOENIX -- Tony La Russa is back in the big leagues, though he won't be filling out lineup cards anytime soon.

The Arizona Diamondbacks hired La Russa as their chief baseball officer Saturday, hoping the Hall of Fame manager can help turn around the team after one of the worst starts in franchise history.

La Russa will report to Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall and oversee the entire baseball operations department. He will work with general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson in shaping the future of the Diamondbacks, who were 16-28 heading into Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"The entire organization is obviously frustrated with the results on the field and we are looking to improve," Hall said. "Tony brings us a wealth of knowledge, experience and success, and will work closely with Kevin and Kirk in evaluating our current state to determine the future of our baseball operations. He is excited and enthusiastic about the challenge, and we are fortunate to have this Hall of Famer on board and a part of the team."

Before their game against Arizona Saturday night, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said La Russa has a long history of success in the league.

"Tony's a good man and a good baseball man. I think if you're Arizona, you'd be excited," Mattingly said. "I don't mind competing, but you know with what Tony's done, with the White Sox, with Oakland, with St. Louis, you kind of know the way Tony goes about his business and his knowledge of the game that it's going to be a good fit here."

Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire said he had an inkling La Russa wanted to return to work with a team.

"He's very successful at what he does," he said. "He's a great evaluator and a great baseball guy."

La Russa won three World Series titles and six league championships and was a four-time manager of the year in 33 seasons before retiring in 2011. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July and is third all time with 2,728 wins as a manager and second with 70 postseason wins.

La Russa played parts of six seasons in the majors before starting a managerial career that began in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox and took him to Oakland and St. Louis, where he won World Series rings in 2006 and 2011. He also won a title with the A's in 1989, joining Sparky Anderson as the only two managers to win World Series in both leagues.

La Russa most recently worked for Major League Baseball as a special assistant to commissioner Bud Selig.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.