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Joe Torre on Dodgers' struggling reliever George Sherrill: 'I'm not going to give up on him'

July 11, 2010 |  8:23 am
"Sherrill is still a mystery,’’ said Manager Joe Torre.

At least we agree with that much. There is no known explanation for the amazing turnaround from the George Sherrill of 2009 to the one doing a weak imitation of him this season.

Sherrill has talked about slow starts, poor mechanics, rebounding from so much use last season. Torre has tried starting him with innings, using him exclusively in situations against left-handers, placing him on disabled list.

And none of it has mattered. He is still a lost-looking pitcher, trudging his 7.32 ERA to the mound a mass of low confidence.

"I don’t care how long you’ve been around, it’s still a matter of not being as confident as you need to be to play this game, or do anything in life,’’ Torre said. "He’s never going to quit. He’s never going to stop working at it.

"I’m not going to give up on him, that’s for sure."

OK, so I can’t agree with Torre on everything. There is no reason to believe at this point Sherrill is suddenly going to show up tomorrow and have it all worked out.

I suggested earlier the Dodgers approach Sherrill about accepting an assignment to triple-A Albuquerque, just so he can go down and pitch  in a less-stressful environment.

"No, it hasn’t come to that,’’ Torre said. "But we’re certainly trying to find a way.’’

Despite his commitment to Sherrill, there is evidence Torre's patience is waning. Friday night Torre  brought him in to face left-handed Tyler Colvin. Sherrill threw one pitch and Colvin hit it for a double, leading to a three-run Chicago inning. And Torre took Sherrill out.

The bullpen is in trouble with Ronald Belisario on the restricted list while in rehab and Ramon Troncoso already in Albuquerque trying to work through his problems. Reliable arms are in short supply.

"We need to see consistency, we need to have our bullpen be more than just a couple people,’’ Torre said.

As much as Torre talks about Sherrill’s history, recent history cannot be ignored. The Dodgers certainly need Sherrill. But not as a man of mystery.

-- Steve Dilbeck