JUPITER, Fla. -- Less than two hours to the noon self-imposed deadline Albert Pujols has set for a new contract with the Cardinals, there remain no signs here of anything other than high noon passing quietly and the situation raging on through the 2011 season and the big man's impending free agency.
Manager Tony La Russa addressed a large group of reporters and television cameras around 9:30 a.m. on his way out for the day's workout and said, well, not much.
"I think the last two days I've done more than enough talking," La Russa said. "I don't have anything more to say than I already did.
"There isn't anything more I can add to what I said. I'm tapped out. I'm anxious to get back to our baseball team."
He did address comments from players' union boss Michael Weiner, who flatly denied La Russa's accusations Tuesday that the union is putting the hammer down on Pujols to not accept anything less than a record contract.
"I saw it," La Russa said. "It kind of omitted part of what I said, that if I was running the union, I'm not sure I'd handle it any differently.
"But it strains credibility a little to think there hasn't been any contact. He's too significant."
Mostly, La Russa did his best to deflect the looming deadline as best as he could.
"Our staff's concentration is on the 2011 season," La Russa said. "I go back to Chicago. All teams, every year there's the potential for all kinds of distractions. They come in many forms. If you give in to them, you're not that good a team.
"If we give into it, we're not good enough and we would end up getting beaten by something else. You can do it [block out distractions]. It can be done.
"You've got to be good enough."
La Russa also welcomed the large media crowd.
"I'm serious about that," he said. "If we're going to be any good, we hope to draw attention to the team. The fact that you're here, for whatever reason, I think the guys are enjoying it."