La Russa accuses union of pushing Pujols

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St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says first baseman Albert Pujols and his representatives are being pressured by the players' union during contract negotiations.

Pujols has set a deadline of noon today to reach agreement on a new deal. La Russa said Tuesday he thinks the three-time NL MVP is being pushed to set a new standard with his contract, and he said that's unfair to the player.

"I know what he's going through with the union and to some extent his representatives because his representatives are getting beat up by the union," La Russa said.

Union head Michael Weiner said the union hasn't talked to Pujols or any of his representatives.

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DIAMONDBACKS: Kelly Johnson and Arizona agreed to a $5.85 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration and provided the second baseman with a hefty pay raise.

Johnson hit .284 last season with 26 homers, 71 RBI and 36 doubles, and made $2.35 million.

YANKEES: Jorge Posada says he will assess his physical condition before deciding whether to come back in 2012. Posada is being shifted to designated hitter but also could see limited action at catcher. If he returns, he would like to stay with the Yankees.

PADRES: Despite being sidelined by a strained left calf, closer Heath Bell could throw as early as today.

CONGRESS: Two Senate Democrats are urging Major League Baseball and the players union to ban smokeless tobacco, such as chew and dip.

Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Dick Durbin of Illinois say products such as dip and chew endanger players' health and send "a dangerous message" to young fans.

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