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DODGERS FYI

Joe Torre is an All-Star

Dodgers manager accepts an invitation to be a coach on the National League All-Star team.

May 14, 2009|Kevin Baxter

PHILADELPHIA — Joe Torre's return to the National League is slightly more than a season old, yet he has already been selected an All-Star.

Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel, who will manage the NL team in the All-Star game in July, last week offered Torre a spot on his coaching staff and the Dodgers manager accepted. "I'm definitely going," Torre said Wednesday. "It will be fun."

The game will be played in St. Louis, where Torre had his finest season as a player, winning most-valuable-player honors and batting a league-best .363 in 1971, earning one of his nine All-Star selections as a player. He managed in six All-Star games with the New York Yankees.

"That's a great perk," Torre said. "It really is fun. My [job] is a lark right now. I don't have to bring a fungo or anything. All I do is show up and sign autographs."

Getting closer

Jason Schmidt threw 94 pitches in five-plus innings for Class-A Inland Empire on Tuesday and told the Dodgers he felt good. But while that left the team cautiously optimistic that Schmidt will be back in the majors this summer, they aren't ready to say when.

Tuesday's appearance started the clock on Schmidt's minor league rehabilitation assignment, meaning the Dodgers have until June 10 to make a decision on the right-hander's status. And Torre says they plan to use all that time.

"He just has to compete," Torre said of Schmidt, who hasn't pitched in the majors in 23 months. "This is really his first rehab assignment."

Schmidt returned after the game to the Dodgers' training complex in Arizona, where he is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today. How his shoulder feels after that will determine where he goes next.

Learning curve

Clayton Kershaw met for 25 minutes behind closed doors with Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, a day after giving up four walks and hitting a batter in five-plus innings.

"It's just about not trying to think about too much," Torre said of the meeting. "He's a bright kid and there will be a lot of times he tries to be too perfect out there. Just pitch."

Although Kershaw is less than two months past his 21st birthday, he has made 28 big league starts. But that precociousness is no substitute for experience.

"You constantly find different things to talk about. You hope that they take it and they're able to process it," Torre said. "I think sometimes we make it bigger than it is. It's a lot simpler if you just sort of take a couple of breaths and just understand what your job is. Being young or not being young, you're here and the responsibility is still there."

Steal curtain

The Dodgers came to Philadelphia having thrown out 44% of would-be base stealers, only to see the Phillies run wild on them Tuesday, stealing six bases in as many tries, including three against veteran reliever Will Ohman, who faced only five batters.

"They were doing a good job of gauging our pitchers," Torre said of the Phillies, who had stolen only 12 bases in their previous 29 games.

Honeycutt said the staff stresses the importance of holding runners, with coach Ken Howell reinforcing that before relievers leave the bullpen.

"They've got to do more," Honeycutt said. "It really just comes down to varying your [delivery] times. You can't get yourself into a pattern. It's something you continue to work on. And they've got to do a better job."

The Phillies did not attempt to steal a base Wednesday.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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