Tony La Russa’s explanation for leaving Johnny Cueto off All Star team violates MLB’s new CBA

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Tony La Russa and Reds manager Dusty Baker have been involved in a back and forth over La Russa leaving Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips off the NL All Star team. Baker contends that the snub of Cueto and Phillips stems from La Russa holding a grudge from a 2010 brawl that Cueto and Phillips were at the center of.

La Russa denies that he is holding a grudge and attempts to give an explanation about why Cueto was left off the squad. But according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, La Russa’s explanation may violate MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.


Here’s La Russa’s explanation.

If Dusty (Baker) had been more interested in Cueto being on the team, then he wouldn’t be pitching him on Sunday. Cueto probably would be on the team if he wasn’t pitching Sunday. The comments Dusty made clearly disappoint me and are attacking my integrity. The All-Star experience is too important to let anything stand in the way of a decision like that. No way am I going to penalize anybody for any kind of past history. The fact is that Cueto is going to be pitching on Sunday. Some other day, he’s probably on the team.”

That all sounds well and good, but unfortunately for La Russa, there is a rule in the CBA called the “Sunday Pitcher Rule” that he apparently doesn’t know about.

(ii) Sunday Pitcher Rule. Any starting pitcher elected or selected to the All-Star team who makes a start on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game (“Sunday Pitcher”) shall have the option to participate or not participate in the All-Star Game. If such starting pitcher elects to participate in the All-Star Game, he will not be permitted to pitch for more than one inning, and he may also inform his manager that he should be removed from the game if he reaches a certain pitch count (irrespective of whether he has completed one inning), provided such pitch count is reasonable. If a Sunday Pitcher who was originally named to the team elects not to participate in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars who are excused from participation, and he will be encouraged to attend and be announced at the All-Star Game.

Looks like ol’ smarty pants La Russa has stepped in it.

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