December 20, 2014

Joe Torre’s Pre-Game Quotes

Better late than never…

His reaction to the feedback from his comments yesterday regarding the New York Mets:

“I apologize to Jerry Manuel and to all the other managers.  I don’t blame them; they don’t want to get stepped on.  I think it’s the wrong thing to do and I apologize.  It certainly wasn’t my intention to do that.

I’m closing the door on managing the Mets and probably everybody else.  Because I don’t want to mislead anybody.  When I leave here…I’m anticipating that will be my last game as manager.  I didn’t have any anticipation that I’m going to manage anywhere else.  But I don’t want to shut any doors to what possibly could be the next phase of my professional life.

I would doubt very seriously that there would be anything that would entice me to manage again.  As I’ve said a number of times, this is pretty good duty out here.  It’s pretty good duty.  This weather, this ballpark, the Dodgers which have been a storied franchise.  I know right there are a lot of questions about what’s going on…but it’s still a pretty darn good place to be.”

On his interest level in writing a book about his time with the Dodgers:

“No.  The New York thing was much different…the roller coaster ride and all that stuff.  And when I first started there and was there three years like I am here, I had no interest in writing a book.  Once you spend as much time as I did there and had excitement from winning and depression about losing, and not really wanting to talk about it, because it wasn’t finished yet.  And I still wouldn’t have written the book unless Tom [Verducci] had come up to me and asked if I had any interest in the kind of book he wanted to do.  But no, I have no interest in writing a book [about the Dodgers].”

On the possibility of writing a book with LA Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez:

Torre jokingly responded, “It would have to be a children’s book if [Hernandez] was going to do it.”

On the Dodgers interest level in playing the role of spoiler:

“I hope so, because it’s really all that’s left for us.  It’s more, have an impact on a pennant race.  In our division, we’re pretty lucky, because we have three of them [contending teams].  If I’m sitting in one of those other dugouts or clubhouses now, in San Francisco or Colorado, I’m hoping that we’re going to play like hell to beat [the Padres].  And that’s only fair to do.  And that’s the way we’ve arranged our pitching.  The other day, being back 6-1, we certainly didn’t throw in the towel in that game and I was proud of that.  But it is tougher to play this time of year, and that’s really the only thing that gets your blood boiling a little bit.  That’s what the game is supposed to be.”

On which players Torre is considering to let manage at the end of the season:

“I’m considering Russell [Martin].  Where I normally favor the older guys, I may be thinking more of the younger guys.  I’ve thrown it out to them.  Ausmus maybe, but he’s going to catch the last game.  That’s going to be his swan song…we’re going to be swaning together.”

Pre-Game Comments from Joe Torre (June 8)

Following are the highlights from Joe Torre’s pre-game media session.  A casual day with lots of discussion about two-sport athletes (like Dodgers first round draft pick Zach Lee), but not too much news to report:

On George Sherrill Starting Fresh Now that He’s Back from the DL:

“You’re certainly not going to be able to change the stats.  You’re just going to have to go out there, and I’m sure he’s going to be in that mindset anyway.  He’s not much to concern himself about how pretty it is, it’s just about getting it done.”

On Carlos Monasterios:

“Last night was good for us. We’ve had all those one run games. It was a good opportunity to rest our bullpen for one. Monasterios gave us a heck of a job.  A heck of a job.  He got himself in a bit of a jam there in the fifth inning, and then got himself out of it in a hurry.”

“To me, the fact that he’s pitched this well, I think he could do the job out of the bullpen too. I think all this stuff has done nothing but increase his confidence, and increased our confidence in him.  He doesn’t seem to be bothered by who he pitches against, and that’s a big get for me, is just to watch his demeanor out there.  After the first few times, he’s been pretty good.”

On Rafael Furcal:

“There’s a lot of life in his body right now.  He was sort of fooled on that ground-rule double that he hit, but he kept his bat in the zone a long time.  He’s staying back a lot better.  I thought a few days ago he was swinging out of his shoes, but he had much more controlled at bats, I felt, last night.”

On Washington Nationals Pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s Debut Today:

I’ll tell you one thing, from what I’ve seen in the inning and two thirds I watched him pitch, the ball comes out of his hand pretty good.  He’s got that one that sinks a little bit, and with that arm speed, he’s got a great curveball…so quick.  You have to be more than perfect to live up to the expectations…he certainly appears to be pretty special.  I don’t think there’s any question.”

On Who Strasburg Reminds Him of:

“When you think of someone young, coming up and pitching, I think of Doc Gooden.  He’d cross your eyes with that breaking ball and throw that fastball.  He’d say ‘Here, I dare you.’ And that’s what you’re seeing with this kid.”

On Possibly Being Asked to Talk to Zach Lee:

“Whatever they ask me to do…I’m only here to serve.”

Photo Credit: Chris Volk/2010

Joe Torre’s Pre-Game Comments

Following are some of Joe Torre’s pre-game comments from earlier this morning:

On John Ely:

“He doesn’t have an issue with taking the mound in any ballpark in any city…He’s in his own world out there.  Guys feed off the enthusiasm.”

On Ely facing the Diamondbacks for the second time:

“That’s important, because as I know as a hitter, sometimes you get familiar with a pitcher, you know what you want to hit.  When he’s able to throw as many different as pitches for strikes, it makes it a little tougher to do that.  He sort of puts you on your heels a bit as a hitter, because he works so quickly.  It’s really unlike a lot of the pitchers these days.”

On George Sherrill:

“I watched him throw the [simulated] game the other day and he threw the ball well.  He’s going to go tomorrow again with Padilla and then he’s ready to come off in probably five days or so.”

On giving so many starters the day off today:

“I think we’re better this year with the quality of the bench and A.J. [Ellis] has been remarkable because he hasn’t played for so long, and he had some good at bats this last game.  Defensively, he’s certainly not a concern at all.  I think you have to do what’s necessary, whether you have the quality on the bench or not.”

On Andre Ethier’s mechanics:

“It’s just timing right now.  I’m glad he got his base hit, but it’s still a matter of timing.  That’s the thing about hitting.  He doesn’t look inhibited in any way or trying to protect anything.  He’s pretty comfortable swinging the bat.  It’s just a matter of getting the rhythm back.”

On A.J. Ellis missing the birth of his child to stay with the club:

“It’s a throwback, that’s for sure.  Normally a player, when his wife is pregnant, will come in and say ‘My wife’s expecting in a month or five weeks.’  I always tell them, if you need to be there, take as long as you need.  Catcher’s a little different than other position players, unfortunately.  But he never came in and asked for any consideration.  He knows it’s an opportunity right now.  It’s an opportunity this kid has, and when you play this game, it’s a family commitment.  You spend so much time with your teammates than you do your family.  I’m sure it was tough.  He did say that he did watch it on the computer….but it’s not the same.”

On the team’s recent hitting struggles:

“I think our at-bats have been ok.  You go through those ups and downs.  Manny’s struggling a little bit, Ethier is just getting going and Matt [Kemp] seems to be getting comfortable again.  Those guys don’t hit, and then you’re asking the support guys to do the job.  Even Furcal is trying to find his stroke.  I think we’re just going through a little bit of a dry spell, that hopefully we can start coming out of.  Casey [Blake]’s been swinging the bat really well. James [Loney] is struggling again.  He can be as ugly as it gets, and then all of a sudden, three hits will come out of him.”

On Carlos Monasterios:

“Like Ely, he gets the ball and throws it.  It’s going to come down to throwing strikes early to keep him from trying to hard.  He falls into that too when he’s struggling a little bit.”

On Charlie Haeger:

“We can’t start him up again until the start of the week.  His foot is getting better.  The only thing he really hasn’t been tested on is touching the bag, but he’s been doing a lot of stuff.  He’s just about back to where he should be right now.”

On Russell Martin’s slide from last night:

“I thought it was hard, but I thought it was clean.”

On the benches clearing after the slide:

“I told Matt Williams: you’re mine.” (Torre was obviously joking here)

On Jason Hayward coming to town with the Atlanta Braves:

“I am curious.  He’s a pretty special young man.  Bobby [Cox] doesn’t throw compliments around as easily as you might think and when he started talking about him in the spring, that got my attention.  I hope we can deal with him.”