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MCGWIRE TO REJOIN CARDS AS LA RUSSA'S HITTING COACH

ST. LOUIS - Mark McGwire is back in baseball, reunited with Tony La Russa as the Cardinals' hitting coach.

La Russa agreed to return for a 15th year as manager Monday with a one-year contract, the first time he hasn't had a multiyear deal with the team. All of his coaches will return except for Hal McRae, the former Rays manager and longtime Bradenton resident who will be replaced by the former star.

"Mark is passionate about the game, passionate about the Cardinals," chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "Tony thinks he'll be a great coach, and I think he's got a lot to offer."

McGwire was not at the news conference at Busch Stadium, but La Russa and general manager John Mozeliak said there will be no effort to shield him from questions about steroids. The team anticipated a telephone news conference with McGwire.

"By no means is he trying to hide, and by no means are we trying to hide him," Mozeliak said.

McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs in 1998 and retired with 583 homers and a .263 average in 2001. He refused to answer questions about steroids use at a 2005 congressional hearing.

HOYER IN CHARGE: Jed Hoyer was formally introduced as Padres general manager after spending eight seasons with the Red Sox. He'd been an assistant to GM Theo Epstein since the end of the 2003 season.

Jeff Moorad, the Padres' vice chairman and CEO, said Hoyer, 35, was the most consistently recommended candidate in the industry and the first he interviewed.

"I had the most positive feedback on him," Moorad said.

ACTA ON BOARD: Former Nationals manager Manny Acta was introduced as the Indians' 40th manager. He signed a three-year contract after Cleveland outbid the Astros, where Acta started his playing career.

"This is a perfect place for me," Acta said. "I'm attracted to all these talented young players. I'm looking forward to teaching and leading them and helping this team win a championship."

HAYES HIRED: Former Phillies outfielder and St. Petersburg resident Von Hayes was named manager of the Atlantic League's Camden Riversharks.

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