"It's definitely not a (three-year contract)," said the 63-year-old skipper, "because that's just looking too far forward for a senior citizen."
Another caveat to the job is that La Russa also apparently will have even more input than he's had as far as player personnel decisions go.
Meanwhile, the search for the new general manager goes on. Cleveland assistant GM Chris Antonetti, a strong candidate, wasn't available for interviews until the Indians were eliminated from the American League Championship Series.
But Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., has kept La Russa apprised of the proceedings and told him that every candidate was on board with him as manager.
Most veterans also seem all right with La Russa's return, but third baseman Scott Rolen, who has been at odds with La Russa for several years over a variety of issues, likely isn't one of them.
La Russa, who said he had sent Rolen a letter this offseason talking about expectations for 2008, said, "The more upset he is with me, the better he'll play all year."
The manager probably was joking when he said that, but he said, "I acknowledge there are some issues."
NOTES AND QUOTES
--John Mozeliak, the assistant general manager when Walt Jocketty was general manager, has been given a pay raise, a multiyear contract and has been promised at least to have his old job back if the Cardinals hire somebody else to be general manager. Mozeliak has served as interim GM in Jocketty's absence and quickly signed RHPs Russ Springer and Joel Pineiro before they could become free agents.
--Jim Riggleman, the club's minor league field coordinator and a potential managerial candidate for the Cardinals if Tony La Russa had left, has moved to Seattle as bench coach. Riggleman, who has managed the Padres and Cubs besides coaching with the Cardinals, Dodgers and Indians, said, "I felt after being out of the big leagues for a few years, I'd better not pass on this opportunity. You sometimes feel if you're out of sight, you're out of mind."
--RHP Mitchell Boggs worked six scoreless innings, giving up only two hits, in his first two starts for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.
--The Cardinals are running out of time to decide whether to re-sign SS David Eckstein, whose three-year contract is up.
--They also have to determine whether they will pick up options on OF So Taguchi and C Gary Bennett, although they probably won't exercise either.