MILWAUKEE -- A day after a report that outfielder Colby Rasmus had asked the Cardinals for a trade and had a chilly relationship with manager Tony La Russa, the skipper insisted there was no "him or me" ultimatum on the table for 2011 and beyond.
"It's one of the most incorrect evaluations or analysis that I can remember ever in my years," La Russa said. "[For someone to say], 'In 2011, either I'm going to be gone or he's going to be gone' ... our relationship is nowhere near that."
La Russa said the surfacing of the trade request, which he said came two months ago, was a distraction and unfair to both Rasmus and his teammates.
"I don't think it's simmering," La Russa said. "I talk to him every day, almost."
La Russa said he understood why players would take exception to such a trade request, as Albert Pujols did when he spoke about Rasmus' reported request.
"For a young kid to come up and say that, that he wants to be somewhere else, I don't know why," Pujols said Sunday. "I guess he said it two months ago. Two months ago we were in first place. Who doesn't want to be on a team that's in first place, battling for a spot in the playoffs? He's young, but he needs to understand, you need to approach that a different way."
Said La Russa, "Everything I've ever said about him, almost without exception, has been positive. If he did something wrong, it had to do with inexperience and normal development. "
The skipper also noted the microscope on a player like Rasmus.
"He is a highlighted player ever since he signed, so he's going to get more attention," La Russa said. "He's now on the radar screen. What would you rather do, be a guy with no talent who's not on the radar screen or you have the talent with a chance to be an impact guy?"
"I believe this is way overblown. He or his agent never requested [a trade] from me," said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak via e-mail on Tuesday.