The Cardinals' manager was back in the dugout on Monday night after sitting out the team's last road trip to recuperate from a persistent case of shingles. He said he was feeling better, thanks in large part to getting on a regular regimen of pain medicine.
"Ready to go," he said on Monday afternoon. "The biggest thing I did probably mistake-wise was not treat the pain. I thought it was just three hours a day, but it started beating me up the rest of the day. Now I'm on pain stuff. It gave me a chance to get on it regularly. So I'm good to go."
Bench coach Joe Pettini served as the club's acting manager, as the Redbirds went 2-4 on a trip to Chicago and Cincinnati. La Russa acknowledged it was difficult to watch from afar, but had nothing but praise for Pettini and the rest of the coaching staff.
"I've had a couple experiences with suspensions and ... it's a real helpless feeling," he said, adding that "the club was well taken care of in every facet."
La Russa underwent a series of examinations at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., early in the week, and on Tuesday evening, the club announced he would miss the remainder of the road trip. Prior to his leave of absence, La Russa had been experiencing acute sensitivity to light, head pain and fatigue. He was examined thoroughly at the Mayo Clinic and prescribed a new medical regimen to get him through the ailment.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.