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Joe Torre expects Manny Ramirez to sign with the Dodgers

Manager says he doesn't have any inside information, but he would be surprised if it doesn't happen.

February 14, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

LITCHFIELD PARK, ARIZ. — Manager Joe Torre says he expects the Dodgers will re-sign free agent outfielder Manny Ramirez.

"I definitely would be very surprised if he's not a Dodger," Torre said.

But, quickly quashing thoughts that he might have inside information, he added, "I'm just saying that because that's the way I want it to be."

General Manager Ned Colletti said that talks regarding Ramirez are moving forward.

"I think there's been some progress made but obviously not enough to consummate a deal," he said.

What kind of progress?

"I think we're both clear on why we stand where we stand," Colletti said. "Three months ago, it was more guesswork than it was anything else."

The Dodgers remain intent on signing Ramirez to a short-term deal, a goal reflected in their offers thus far -- two years at $45 million and, more recently, one year at $25 million.

Ramirez is seeking a contract of at least four years. Torre said Ramirez reiterated his desire for a long-term contract in a phone conversation with him Tuesday.

"He admitted to me he was comfortable being here," Torre said. "You'd like to believe there's a lot of romance involved here, but it comes down to what he feels is best for him."

Citing the slugger's work ethic, Torre said he wasn't concerned that Ramirez might miss part of spring training. Position players are due to report to camp Wednesday.

Torre said he would prefer the Dodgers sign Ramirez instead of using that money to sign multiple players.

"In our situation, Manny fits better," he said. "We need him more than four, five other guys."

Not that there are many other options left. Second baseman Orlando Hudson remains available, but Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn recently signed with the Angels and Washington Nationals.

The Dodgers aren't interested in any of the starting pitchers still available.

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Broxton to close

Torre wasn't ready to designate specific roles for his pitchers, but pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he views Jonathan Broxton as the team's closer.

"I think Jon is, in my opinion, the closer until something would change that," Honeycutt said. "I don't see a trade to bring in somebody better than him."

Broxton became the Dodgers' closer last season when Takashi Saito was sidelined by elbow problems. Saito signed with the Boston Red Sox in the off-season.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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