Tony La Russa is returning to the St. Louis Cardinals as manager on a multiyear contract, sources told ESPN on Sunday, but there will be at least one change to his coaching staff. Sources said Hal McRae, the team's hitting coach, has been fired. Mark McGwire, the former Cardinals slugger, is expected to replace him. La Russa, 65, has been mulling his future since the National League Central-champion Cardinals were swept in the division series by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 10. His two-year, $8.5 million contract expires at the end of the month. "We're getting closer," La Russa, the team's manager for 14 years, said earlier Sunday. "But nothing has been decided. I can't tell you anything yet." The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted sources that believed a formal announcement that La Russa would be returning could be made early in the week. Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak have both said they would like La Russa to return. He has led the Cardinals to eight postseason appearances and a 2006 World Series title, and he's third on the career victories list, trailing only Connie Mack and John McGraw.