Reporting from Milwaukee — The Dodgers had not placed Manny Ramirez on waivers as of late Tuesday, baseball sources told The Times, but the Chicago White Sox reportedly plan to claim the 38-year-old slugger if he does land on the waiver wire.
Club officials aren't permitted to discuss which players are placed on waivers, but the report on FoxSports.com that the White Sox were interested — attributed to an unidentified source — revved up the discussion about whether Ramirez would finish his season with a team other than the Dodgers.
"Can he help us? I don't know because he hasn't played in the big leagues in a while," White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters in Chicago. Ramirez recently returned from his third stint on the disabled list this season.
Even so, "he's a presence in the lineup," Guillen said. "Manny is a tremendous hitter."
The last day for teams to set their playoff rosters is Aug. 31, so any deal with the White Sox or another club would probably have to be worked out by then.
White Sox General Manager Ken Williams, noting he was required "to speak in generalities" about players who might be on waivers, said: "We can never have too much offense, just like we can never have too much pitching."
In Milwaukee, where the Dodgers opened a three-game series against the Brewers, Manager Joe Torre was asked whether the Ramirez rumors were a distraction to his team.
"I don't think it's anything different from what goes on in July" before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Torre said. "I can't talk about what is going on," he said, but "I don't see it affecting anything at this point."
When Vin Scully quipped that the Dodgers' signing of journeyman catcher Rod Barajas clinched Scully's decision to return as the Dodgers' broadcaster for his 62nd year, Barajas was among those laughing.
"I loved it," Barajas said after the Southern California native joined the team Tuesday in Milwaukee, where he started his Dodgers' career with a bang by hitting a three-run home run and two doubles off Brewers starter Dave Bush.
Born in Ontario and reared in Norwalk, Barajas grew up rooting for the Dodgers and listening to Scully.
"It's a childhood dream come true to put this uniform on," said Barajas, who came from the New York Mets and will split the catching duties with Brad Ausmus. "Vin Scully, to me, is the best there's ever been. He was a huge influence on me loving this game."
Torre pushed back Chad Billingsley's next start to Saturday from Thursday to give the right-hander more time to rest his troublesome right calf muscle. He'll start against the Rockies in Colorado.
"He probably could have pitched Thursday, but the fact that we needed a fifth starter Saturday I figured we'd rather give him the extra couple of days," Torre said.
The upcoming rotation is now Hiroki Kuroda, Carlos Monasterios, Clayton Kershaw and Billingsley.
"It may not make a difference, but if it's going to be a plus for him, so be it," Torre said. "We just decided to give him the extra two days."
Billingsley said, "I can pitch, it's just doing the running part, covering bases and things like that." Asked whether his calf was sore or strained, he replied, "a little of both."
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