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Overflow crowd fills up the outfield

August 01, 2008|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

Already flush with four players for three spots, the Dodgers' outfield became a bit more congested Thursday after the team acquired Manny Ramirez as part of a three-team, six-player trade.

Presumably, Ramirez will start in left field for the Dodgers tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Beyond that, the two other outfield spots are anyone's guess.

"That makes you yearn for the DH," Manager Joe Torre said of the logjam. "In the big picture, you're helping your team and that has to take precedence over playing time."

Torre said he had not decided on a lineup other than having Ramirez bat somewhere in the middle.

"We're going to have to, as we go along, try to figure it out," Torre said. "I really don't know who's going to get impacted the most on this thing."

Andruw Jones, who earlier this week lost his spot as the everyday center fielder, hailed the acquisition even while acknowledging that it could result in less playing time.

"It's just bringing a big bat in the lineup, and I think if we stay healthy we've got a good chance" to win the National League West, said Jones, who is hitting .163. "Now that we have five [outfielders], we'll see what happens. I can't say anything."

Matt Kemp said that adding "one of the best hitters in baseball" could only be a positive, regardless of who was in the starting lineup each day.

"Whoever gets to get in the game at that time has to go out there and help the team win any chance they can, even if they're not starting," Kemp said.

We got who?

News of the Ramirez trade was momentarily lost in translation for several Dodgers players at a news conference in which owner Frank McCourt formally announced that Dodger Stadium would play host to the World Baseball Classic in March.

Toward the end of the event, McCourt informed the gathering inside the Stadium Club of the acquisition, leading to some blank stares among the team's Asian players in attendance.

"I didn't know what he was talking about," reliever Chan Ho Park said. "I thought he was talking about Manny Mota."

Closer Takashi Saito said he wondered whether he had been traded. And pitcher Hiroki Kuroda had to have a team interpreter fill him in on the deal.

Short hops

The Dodgers still have not decided whether to put Nomar Garciaparra on the disabled list because of a mildly sprained knee, a move that would open a spot for Ramirez on the active roster. Garciaparra fielded ground balls before Thursday's game, with Torre describing the shortstop's lateral movements as "still an effort." . . . Although a trade for Greg Maddux did not materialize, the Dodgers could still acquire the pitcher should San Diego decide to put him on waivers.


Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.


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