Joe Torre talks about the Dodgers' rotation, Manny Ramirez and more
Making a surprise appearance at the Dodgers’ community caravan stop at the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles on Tuesday, Manager Joe Torre acknowledged there were questions about his starting rotation.
“We have four starters that we know for sure,” Torre said. “Where’s the fifth guy going to come from?”
Even though the Dodgers appear to be done shopping this winter, Torre said that pitcher could come from the outside.
Referring to how General Manager Ned Colletti signed Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson last February, Torre said, “Last year shows us that because we start spring training, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to start people... I know Ned continues to look around to see if anything makes sense. But if it has to come from within, so be it.”
Torre named James McDonald, Scott Elbert and Eric Stults as in-house candidates.
Among the pitchers the Dodgers are monitoring is Chien-Ming Wang, who played under Torre in New York. Wang is recovering from shoulder surgery.
“The name’s come up,” Torre said. “After his surgery, who knows? But he was my leading pitcher two years in a row in New York. I can’t ignore the fact that he’s a special young man, but as far as being able to come back what he’s coming back from, it has to be evaluated.”
Ramirez and Blake’s workload to be monitored
Torre said he hoped to give Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake more days off this season.
“I think we’re definitely going to look at that,” Torre said.
Torre pointed out that because of reserve Reed Johnson’s ability to play any of the three outfield positions, if he chose to sit any of his starting outfielders, he could do so without moving the other two. So if Andre Ethier needs a day off, Matt Kemp wouldn’t have to move from center field to right.
More on Manny
Speaking of Ramirez, Torre said he chatted with him on the phone four or five days ago.
“He seemed fine,” Torre said. “He sounded good.”
Ramirez was in the Dominican Republic at the time and Torre said he sensed “an anxiousness” in Ramirez “about getting started.”
Torre said he believes Ramirez’s 50-game suspension was responsible for his sluggish form late in the season.
Of the Dodgers’ depth at second base, Torre said, “I think what we’re doing now is giving ourselves a safety net.”
Even though the Dodgers re-signed Ronnie Belliard, Torre said Blake DeWitt would get a “fair shot” to earn the starting job.
The caravan’s first stop of the day was at City of Hope Hospital.
Dr. Stephen Forman, the Chair of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, said the contributions from the Dodgers’ ThinkCure foundation were especially valuable to cancer researchers in this time of economic instability.
Forman estimated that at one time, researchers had a 20-30% chance of receiving a government grant.
“Now, it’s less than one in 10,” he said.
Forman said City of Hope researchers received $600,000 in grants from ThinkCure last year.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt took time at the City of Hope stop to talk about ticket operations manager Desiree Sanchez, who recently died after a battle with breast cancer.
“Our hearts are broken,” McCourt said.
-- Dylan Hernandez
Photo: Joe Torre watches batting practice prior to a game against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 29. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times