Manny back with teammates

ESPN and the L.A. Times have reported this morning that Manny Ramirez met with his Dodgers teammates at their south Florida hotel. As of yet, there hasn’t been any word of what Ramirez said, although you can expect some details to start trickling out in a couple hours, when the team is at the park and the Dodgers’ clubhouse is opened. Manny, it seems, still isn’t ready to explain himself to the public…

Milton up, McDonald down, Weaver out

The Dodgers have purchased the minor-league contract of Eric Milton, who will start Saturday’s game in place of Jeff Weaver. James McDonald and his 6.75 ERA have been sent to Albuquerque. After being sent to the bullpen, McDonald allowed one earned run in five appearances (4 1/3 innings). Weaver made two five-inning starts in place of McDonald. Here’s the story from the Associated Press…

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Eric Milton is heading back to the big leagues after a nearly two-year absence.
The Dodgers purchased the contract of the veteran left-hander from Triple-A Albuquerque after their 5-3, 10-inning win over the Phillies on Thursday.
Milton will start Saturday against the Florida Marlins in place of Jeff Weaver. The Dodgers optioned right-hander James McDonald (1-1, 6.75 ERA) to their Pacific Coast League club.
The 33-year-old Milton hasn’t pitched in the majors since elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2007. The former All-Star is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in seven minor league starts. Milton has an 87-84 record in 10 major league seasons, including a no-hitter for Minnesota in 1999 against the Angels.

Broxton’s scoreless streak ends, but he wins

Jonathan Broxton coughed up a two-run lead in the ninth, and allowed his first earned run since April 11, but the Dodgers rallied for two in the 10th inning to beat the Phillies 5-3. Broxton got the win — and Ramon Troncoso picked up his second save with a scoreless 10th. Broxton had tossed 13 consecutive scoreless innings.

Overall, it was a decent series for the Dodgers’ bullpen, with four earned runs in nine innings. Are you satisfied with what you’ve seen out of the pen so far? Next up, a series against the offensively-mediocre Marlins, so the bullpen will get the chance to shine again.

Joe Torre named to All-Star coaching staff

Dodgers manager Joe Torre has been named to the National League coaching staff for the July 14 All-Star Game in St. Louis. Here’s the story from the Associated Press…

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joe Torre is going back to the All-Star game.
Torre said Wednesday that Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel asked him to be part of the National League coaching staff for the Midsummer Classic in St. Louis on July 14.
“It’s a privilege and an honor,” Torre said before his Dodgers played the Phillies in the second game of their three-game series. “I’m definitely going.”
Torre is 5-0-1 as a manager in the All-Star game. He led the AL team to a victory in 2004 in his last appearance as manager. The managers of the two teams that play in the previous World Series are the All-Star managers. Each gets to pick two managers to serve as coaches.
Torre spent six seasons as a player in St. Louis (1969-74) and six more as a manager (1990-95). He’s looking forward to going back for the All-Star festivities instead of taking three days off. He did have to change the date for his sister’s 80th birthday celebration that originally was scheduled for that week.
“It’ll be fun,” he said. “St. Louis is where I started growing up. It’ll be nice going back there.”
Manuel’s Phillies beat Torre’s Dodgers in the NL championship series last year en route to the second World Series championship in franchise history. The two managers exchanged pleasantries behind the cage during batting practice, and Torre thanked Manuel for the opportunity to coach on his staff.
Torre managed the New York Yankees from 1996-07, winning four World Series titles and six AL pennants. The 2008 All-Star game was held at the old Yankee Stadium in its final season, but Torre was left off the NL coaching staff during his first year in charge of the Dodgers.

Manny Ramirez suspended 50 games

NEW YORK (AP) — Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday, becoming the latest high-profile player ensnared in the sport’s drug scandals.
The commissioner’s office didn’t announce the specific violation by the Dodgers outfielder, who will lose about one-third of his $25 million salary.
“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me,” Ramirez said in a statement issued by the players’ union.
“Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.”
This is the second major drug revelation to hit baseball in the last few months. In February, Alex Rodriguez admitted taking steroids while playing for Texas from 2001-03. But that was before the start of testing with penalties under a program agreed to by players and management. The New York Yankee star doesn’t appear likely to be
suspended.
Ramirez is the third player suspended this year under the major league program, following Philadelphia reliever J.C. Romero and Yankees pitcher Sergio Mitre.
Just two relatively low-profile players were suspended under the major league program last year, San Francisco catcher Elizier Alfonzo and Colorado catcher Humberto Coto.
In the past, the best-known player penalized was Baltimore’s Rafael Palmeiro, who received a 10-day suspension in 2005, the first year of penalties for first infractions.

Another walk-off win

The Dodgers improved to 9-0 at home — matching the 1946 Brooklyn gang for best home start in franchise history — with more late drama in a low-scoring game against San Diego. This time, Andre Ethier’s no-outs, bases-loaded, 350-foot single ended it.

In a game that had a lot of compelling storylines — another walk-off win, Ethier getting the big hit after getting doubled off third base in the sixth, Troncoso inducing the big double-play grounder in the sixth, Wolf looking brilliant for 4 2/3 innings then suddenly losing the strike zone — one at-bat that might get lost a bit is Orlando Hudson’s at-bat in the 10th.

Furcal led off with a single up the middle and Hudson came up looking bunt. What an intriguing at-bat. Hudson worked the count to 3-1, Furcal took off, Hudson swung and managed to snake one through the middle to move Furcal to third. Manny draws the IBB and Ethier wins it. Think about how that at-bat could have gone different. If Hudson gets the bunt down, Manny still draws the walk but it’s up to Ethier to get a clutch hit, not just sky the ball to the outfield. If Hudson fails completely, then it’s just one on, one out.

Quite a game, and they’ll be back at it Sunday afternoon…

Leach on roster, Weaver in rotation

In two not-so-surprising moves this afternoon, Joe Torre announced that left-hander Brent Leach was called up from Double-A Chattanooga to take the roster spot of Hong-Chih Kuo, who simply can’t throw the ball right now. Kuo’s long-balky left elbow is once again giving him trouble, so Torre said the Dodgers will shut down Kuo for at least a week and then reevaulate. Leach had allowed one earned run in 13 innings for Chattanooga and made it to the stadium this afternoon.

Also, Jeff Weaver will start Tuesday in place of James McDonald. Torre explained the move by saying that McDonald “just didn’t look comfortable” in his last start. Torre actually sent McDonald to visit with Charlie Hough for a couple days, so McDonald isn’t even at the park today. Torre said he expects Weaver’s limit on Tuesday to be in the 70-to-75-pitch range, and that he will evaluate the rotation spot again after Tuesday.

Casey Blake, Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin are all expected to get days off Sunday.

Randy Wolf won the team’s Kentucky Derby pool (for entertainment purposes only, of course…)

Today’s lineup:
Furcal — SS
Hudson — 2B
Ramirez — LF
Ethier — RF
Loney — 1B
Martin — C
Kemp — CF
Blake — 3B
Wolf — P