Reports since Tuesday's All-Star Game in San Francisco have said the men are at odds because La Russa, the National League's manager, did not insert Pujols, a first baseman, into the game as a fielder or pinch-hitter.
"I think people want to start World War III with me and Tony, and I think they are picking the wrong (people) because I have so much respect for Tony and he has so much respect for me," Pujols said on the Cardinals' Web site after a Thursday team workout. "Was I disappointed I didn't get in the game? Of course. I'm a competitor. I want to help the National League win."
Pujols has played for La Russa and the Cardinals since his major league career began in 2001.
"Our relationship has stood the test of time," La Russa said. "There wasn't a problem, there isn't a problem."