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Alex Rodriguez says hello to (gasp!) Joe Torre

Rodriguez, who had avoided his former manager in the days leading up to the Dodgers-Yankees series and who had been the subject of less-than-favorable comments in Torre's book, has a playful encounter with the Dodgers' skipper before the game.

June 27, 2010|By Dylan Hernandez

In case you were wondering, yes, Joe Torre and New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez finally got around to saying hi to each other.

Rodriguez walked to the back of the batting cage before the game to greet his former manager, who playfully backed up, holding up his hands when seeing him. Rodriguez paused awkwardly for a second, but laughed and playfully threw a couple of fake body punches at Torre when he realized he was joking.

Rodriguez refused to talk about Torre in the days leading up to the Yankees' visit to Los Angeles and ignored him when they were both on the field Friday, leading to speculation that Rodriguez was still upset about the way he was portrayed in a book Torre coauthored, "The Yankees Years." Naturally, news of Rodriguez's apparent avoidance of Torre made headlines in both Los Angeles and New York.

Immediately before they met Sunday, Rodriguez was seen talking to Jason Zillo, the Yankees' director of media relations. The meeting with Torre took place in front of a crowd of television cameras and newspaper reporters.

"You don't want to let things linger," Rodriguez said. "You don't know when's the next time Joe and I are going to see each other. And at the end of the day, I just wanted to be a gentleman and do the right thing."

Torre was upset with a story in the Sunday edition of The Times in which it was written that Rodriguez was described as "a head case" in "The Yankee Years."

Here are a couple of quotes from the book about Rodriguez that are directly attributed to Torre:

-- "When it comes to a key situation, he can't get himself to concern himself with getting the job done, instead of how it looks."

-- "For me success was still going to be about pitching. But seeing his personality concerned me because you could see his focus was on individual stuff."

Torre later explained that whatever he was quoted as saying in the book, he had already said to Rodriguez directly beforehand. The reason he became upset Sunday, he said, was that he was tired of how the book was portrayed as a hit piece on Rodriguez when it was about the landscape of baseball.

A vote for Kuo

If Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel asks for any All-Star nominations, Torre said he would push for left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo.

Because Kuo is a setup man, Torre said, he "would be the one nobody pays attention to. I may make a call on his behalf. I'm not sure if it would be frowned on because there's very little that's left on the manager anymore."

Left-handed hitters are 0 for 25 with 12 strikeouts against Kuo, a survivor of four elbow operations. Kuo, who has never made an All-Star team, is 2-1 with a 1.16 earned-run average in 23 appearances.

Billingsley to make his return

The Dodgers optioned Jon Link to triple-A Albuquerque, clearing the path for Chad Billingsley to be activated from the 15-day disabled list. Billingsley, who was sidelined on June 16 because of a strained groin, is scheduled to start the opening game of a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday.

Kemp rests

With Matt Kemp batting only .196 this month, Torre opted to rest the center fielder and start Reed Johnson in his place.

"I just thought Matt could benefit from a day off," Torre said. "I think he's just played a lot."

Kemp sat until the 10th inning, when he entered the game as a defensive replacement for Garret Anderson, who was ejected the previous inning.

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