Manny Ramirez was a popular topic of discussion during Joe Torre’s pregame chat with reporters before Monday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
That’s understandable considering Manny’s return to the Dodgers is a mere four days away.
As much as the team would like to downplay his arrival, there is no getting around the fact the Dodgers are about to add one of the game’s top three right-handed bats.
And just in the nick of time.
The Dodgers limped into Monday’s game losing four of their last six games for the first time this season, and after dropping two straight series for the first time this season.
In fact, the recent play prompted Torre to talk to his players before Monday’s game about not falling into the trap of relaxing until Manny gets back.
Torre isn’t sure the Dodgers have throttled down a notch the last two series in anticipation of Manny, but just to be on the safe side he addressed it with the team.
“I don’t know, but I’ll certainly mention it (to the Dodgers) today.” Torre said. “With all the conversations about it…maybe. For me, I don’t think any of that would have anything to do with the pitching. Pitchers get their one opportunity every five or six days whether he’s here or not. They’re a different breed. So I don’t think so.”
Of more immediate concern is Manny’s physical status when he reports back Friday against San Diego. Bottom line, his first week or so back will be glorified spring training, only the games count and Manny will be getting in baseball shape on the fly.
“You can do all the stuff in the weight room you want to do but you still have to go out there and use muscles you’re not used to using,” Torre said.
That being said, there is no downside to adding Manny.
“Hopefully he can give us more consistent offense,” Torre said. “We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve won a lot of close games and we’ve made the most out of the runs we’ve scored, especially here at home. I think Manny’s presence in the lineup, besides the ability he brings; it’s sort of a security blanket. The difference as opposed to last year, when we sort of waited around for him to do something, is that this year we’re a more formidable group. But I think he still adds a little more credibility.”