MLB notes: Former batting champ Alou dies

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:24 PM ET

Former star outfielder Matty Alou died Thursday in Miami. He was 72 years old.

Alou won the NL batting title in 1966 with a .342 average, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He also played for the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres during his career from 1960 through 1974.

The Dominican native was the middle brother of a trio of major leaguers. In 1963 for the Giants, Matty, with older brother Felipe and younger brother Jesus, appeared together in the same outfield.

"Although he played for six different teams, Matty remained a part of the Giants family as a long-time employee and will be forever linked with his brothers -- Felipe and Jesus -- as the first all-brother major league outfield," the Giants said in a statement.

Alou had been battling various health issues, including diabetes.

In 1,667 career games, Alou batted .307 with 1,777 hits. He appeared in the World Series with the Giants in 1962 and with the Athletics in 1972.

LA RUSSA LIKES SANDBERG

Tony La Russa believes Ryne Sandberg would be impressive as his successor as St. Louis Cardinals manager.

The Cardinals have permission from the Philadelphia Phillies to interview Sandberg, a baseball source told ESPN.com. "I've heard he has done a really good job in the minor leagues," the retiring La Russa said Thursday, referring to Sandberg, who managed the Phillies triple-A Lehigh Valley team last season.

"I also pay him huge credit points and respect points ... how many Hall of Famers do you know who are ready to go to the minor leagues and manage and prove what they can do?"

LaRussa, though, stopped short of endorsing Sandberg.

The Cardinals also plan to interview former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, former Gold Glove catcher Mike Matheny, White Sox coach Joe McEwing, and Memphis triple-A manager Chris Maloney, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

FRANCONA-EPSTEIN AGAIN?

New Chicago Cubs boss Theo Epstein says he spoke Thursday with Terry Francona about his vacant manager's position.

"Tito and I have spoken regularly since the end of the season," Epstein said. "We are going to sit down together and see if it's a fit."

Epstein and Francona won two World Series together with the Boston Red Sox. Both left the organization after the Red Sox meltdown this season.

Other candidates for the Cubs job include Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Peter Mackanin and Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Epstein has told former Cubs stalwart Ryne Sandberg that he won't be considered. Sandberg was a finalist last year to manage the Cubs -- a job that went to Mike Quade, who was told this week he won't be back.

DODGERS KEEP JAYS CASTOFF

The Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed veteran outfielder Juan Rivera to a one-year contract Thursday.

Rivera provided an offensive spark after being acquired July 12 from the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 62 games for Los Angeles, Rivera batted .274 with 46 RBI.

"Juan proved to be a valuable addition to our lineup last season both in terms of his versatility and run production," general manager Ned Colletti said. "He is capable of playing three positions and his production against left-handed pitchers gives the club added balance."

BRIEFLY

Josh Reddick doubled twice and scored two runs to help the MLB All-Stars defeat the Chinese Taipei national team 5-3 Thursday in Taichung, in the second of a five-game exhibition series. Curtis Granderson -- who hit a grand slam in the opener Tuesday, a 7-0 MLB win -- added another RBI in Game 2. The series continues with games Friday, Saturday and Sunday ... The Houston Astros have claimed infielder Brian Bixler off waivers from the Washington Nationals. Bixler, 29, hit .205 in 79 games in 2011, while playing all three outfield positions and three infield positions ... The Seattle Mariners outrighted pitcher Anthony Vasquez to triple-A Tacoma. Vasquez had a 1-6 record and an 8.90 earned-run average in 2011 with Seattle.


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