By AP/St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis – It's official - Mark McGwire will return to St. Louis as the Cardinals' hitting coach next season.
McGwire will replace Hal McRae, whose contract was not renewed. Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa announced the decision Monday. He said he believes McGwire's success as a hitter will translate into him being a good coach.
"He has a really good approach that's fundamental. There's some differences to what he's teaching, but he's got the whole thing, you know? The mechanics, the power of the mind, the understanding that you need to prepare with a lot of hard work," La Russa said.
The decision is controversial because of speculation into McGwire's possible use of performance-enhancing drugs. La Russa says that the Cardinals organization has already addressed the issue.
"You know he's gonna, at some point, have to talk and answer, and I don't know what he's gonna say. But I say exactly what I've said all along: This guy is the product of hard work and a lot of talent and he's got the same talent for coaching hitters," La Russa said.
LaRussa's contract has also been renewed. He said he would have stayed in St. Louis if McGuire had turned down the hitting coach offer, but that he's been energized by McGwire's acceptance.