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Duncan joins La Russa on 2011 staff

Relieving a little bit of the off-season tension, the Cardinals announced today that pitching coach Dave Duncan will be back with a two-year contract and an option for 2013.

Duncan, who is 65, said a month or so ago that he plans to coach for another three seasons and that he hopes all three of them would be with the Redbirds.

Terms of the contract have not been revealed.

Hopefully this move will give the Cardinals a chance to get to the most important business at hand, signing Albert Pujols to a contract extension.

I'm also curious about the contract status of one of Duncan's charges. We heard a few weeks back that Jake Westbrook was interested in coming back and that the Birds hoped to accommodate him. If that's going to happen, I think a deal needs to be worked out before Westbrook becomes a free agent and starts taking bids.

I'd be surprised if the Cardinals are willing to pay market value for Westbrook when Ted Lilly was able to score a three-year, $33 million contract already this off-season.