Joe Torre says he'll name opening-day starter Thursday
Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said he'll name the starting pitcher for opening day on Thursday after further discussing the team's options with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.
"We'll give it to you Thursday, that I can promise you; you just have to remind me, though," Torre quipped before the Dodgers played split-squad games Monday, one against the Angels at the Dodgers' spring-training home at Camelback Ranch and one against the Brewers at Milwaukee's Cactus League park in the Maryvale section of Phoenix.
The starting candidates are left-handers Clayton Kershaw and right-handers Chad Billingsley, Vicente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda, who started on opening day in 2009. This year, the team opens its season against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
The Dodgers current pitching rotation had led to speculation that Kershaw had the inside track. But when Torre was asked about whether that rotation could be tweaked to allow for another pitcher to open the season, Torre replied: "Well, let's see."
Torre also confirmed that he suspended talks with the Dodgers about extending his contract beyond this season, a move first reported on MLB.com. "I just didn't want to have it cause any kind of a distraction here at this point in time; I've got more important things to do," he said. "It's too close to getting the season started."
In the last year of a three-year contract, Torre -- who turns 70 in July -- is mulling a possible move to the Dodgers' front office after his managing days are over. In his first two years managing the Dodgers, he led the team to consecutive National League West titles and appearances in the NL Championship Series.
Separately, Torre was asked about the status of reliever Ronald Belisario of Venezuela, who still has not reported to camp due to visa problems. "I have not heard a thing," Torre said, but he added that "him being on our opening day roster seems very remote at this point.”
The Dodgers also said they released infielder Angel Berroa as they continued to trim their roster ahead of opening day.
-- Jim Peltz in Phoenix
Photo: Dodgers Manager Joe Torre during a spring-training game against the Colorado Rockies on March 9 at the Camelback Ranch facility. Credit: Tony Dejak / Associated Press