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DODGERS FYI

Torre says Pierre will go to center

August 02, 2008|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

The outfield configuration the Dodgers unveiled on Manny Ramirez's first day with the team -- Ramirez in left field, Andruw Jones in center and Matt Kemp in right -- may not look familiar by the end of the weekend.

Manager Joe Torre said Juan Pierre would play "the bulk of the time" in center field, with Ramirez serving as the everyday left fielder and Kemp the regular right fielder.

"To me, Juan certainly deserves the right to play," Torre said. "His experience and the consistency with which he goes about his business is pretty tempting for me right now."

Does that mean that Andre Ethier has been relegated to backup status?

"Somebody's going to sit, not that it's going to happen all the time," Torre said. "We're going to have to play the other guys once and again just to make sure they get action."

Torre said he started the right-handed-hitting Jones in center Friday against Arizona at Dodger Stadium because Diamondbacks left-hander Randy Johnson was difficult on left-handed hitters.

Ethier, among the team leaders with 11 homers and 46 runs batted in, said the Dodgers' playoff push should take precedence over playing time.

"You have to focus on that and put all the individual stuff aside and say, 'This is what we're going for and we've got a legitimate shot to do it,' " Ethier said. "With [Ramirez], we can definitely say we're going to be a contender."

Pierre declined to comment for a second consecutive day when approached at his locker.

Garciaparra to DL

Even though Nomar Garciaparra said he "was comfortable" with the prospect of returning early next week with his mildly sprained knee at less than full strength, the shortstop reluctantly agreed to go on the disabled list to make room on the active roster for Ramirez.

"It's something they asked me to do to help the team," Garciaparra said.

Garciaparra said his knee still bothered him while running and moving laterally, but he was nonetheless disappointed to go on the disabled list for the third time this season.

"It's something I can't avoid," he said. "I can't avoid getting hit in the hand, I can't avoid having Compartment syndrome and I can't avoid somebody sliding into my knee."

Not rattled by Ramirez

The Diamondbacks weren't ready to concede that the Dodgers' acquisition of Ramirez could make the difference in a taut division race.

"It's definitely going to present a challenge for us, but I still like the way we've been playing," said pitcher Dan Haren, who faced Ramirez for three years in the American League as a member of the Oakland Athletics. "I'd take our guys.

"When you get right down to it, the pitching's got to be there. The Dodgers have pitched great this year, we've pitched good and I think the division will probably be decided by that."

Said Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young: "He's definitely an offensive force and I think he'll help them put up some runs. [But] we're going to handle our business and if we do our part, we should be right there."

Short hops

Right-handed pitcher Ethan Martin, the Dodgers' first-round draft pick, underwent season-ending knee surgery after being injured during fielding drills. He is expected to be out six weeks and pitch in the instructional league by mid-September.

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Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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