(La Genius, shown with creature far more compliant, obedient than Colby Rasmus)

Further details surrounding Tony La Russa’s burial of Cards CF Colby Rasmus are emerging, and if there’s any saving grace for St. Louis, said pissing match provides slight distraction from the club going into the tank almost immediately after they attempted to separate Brandon Phillips’ head from his torso. In addition to soliciting commentary from Albert Pujols backing his manager — “he (Rasmus) needs to find out the talent and ability that he has and pretty much keep his mouth shut and play the game” — Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan cites numbers that at the very least, call into question La Russa’s judgement, if not his people skills.

Rasmus™ relationship with the Cardinals™ organization has been contentious for much of his career with the Cardinals, who drafted him with the 28th pick in the 2005 draft out of high school in Alabama. His father, Tony, criticized La Russa in 2008 on message-board postings after Rasmus was sent to the minor leagues after an excellent spring, and La Russa chafed this year when Rasmus met with his father for personal hitting sessions in July.

Whether it™s a coincidence that La Russa stopped playing Rasmus every day is unclear. Indisputable is that since July 3, when outfielder Jon Jay(notes) was recalled from Memphis, he has started 44 games and logged 199 plate appearances. Rasmus, who missed nearly two weeks recently with a calf injury, has started 31 games with 139 plate appearances. Even before the injury, Jay “ a moderately touted prospect with far less upside than Rasmus “ had gotten more plate appearances in the prior six weeks.

On the day of Jay™s recall, Rasmus ranked seventh in the NL with a .915 on-base-plus-slugging. La Russa said Sunday morning that he likes Jay™s œsavvy and would prefer that Rasmus control the strike zone better, as his 32.7 percent strikeout rate is third-worst in the NL.

œIt™s not personal to Colby, La Russa said, adding: œHe™s the best fifth-place hitter we have.

Rasmus is 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored against the Reds, with St. Louis leading, 4-2 in the last of the 8th. Scott Rolen was plunked earlier today by Chris Carpenter, and the pitcher should be applauding for rejecting instructions to bean his own center fielder.