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Dodgers beat 8/24

August 24, 2010

Dodgers not affect by Manny rumors

MILWAUKEE — As far as his manager is concerned, the rumors swirling about a potential trade involving Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez is no different now than a month ago.

“I don’t think it’s anything different than [what] goes on in July with all the rumors that fly around in July about trade possibilities,” Joe Torre said. “I don’t see any concern.”

It’s been speculated that, barring any significant Dodgers winning streak, Ramirez could be placed on waivers sometime this week.

Among the teams that expressed interest in acquiring Ramirez before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline were the White Sox and Rays. To be traded by the end of this month, Ramirez would first need to clear waivers.

If placed on waivers, Ramirez could go to a team that claims him, he could be traded to that team, or he could be pulled back by the Dodgers and remain with the club through the end of the 2010 season.

Despite all the interest in Ramirez’s potential departure from Los Angeles this week, Torre expressed little concern over the effect on Ramirez.

“In this game, because it is the game of baseball, you’re really bred to deal with distractions,” Torre said. “That’s our job. I don’t see it affecting anything at this point.”

Barajas in lineup on first day with Dodgers

MILWAUKEE — Newly-acquired catcher Rod Barajas joined the Dodgers in Milwaukee on Tuesday. On his first day with the club, Barajas was inserted into the starting lineup right away by manager Joe Torre.

The Dodgers claimed Barajas off waivers over the weekend, sending cash to the Mets in exchange for the veteran catcher. With Russell Martin out for the season due to a hip injury, Barajas fills the Dodgers’ void behind the plate.

Before acquiring Barajas, the Dodgers had used Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis at catcher. Upon acquiring Barajas, Ellis was optioned to the Minors. While he likes Barajas’ ability behind the plate as well, Torre especially likes the additional offense he can provide at catcher.

“Offensively, he gives us a little more,” Torre said. “Obviously, I’ve been very satisfied with the defensive side of the game with our catchers. But we’ve sort of been limited, even though we’ve had some contributions offensively. We’ve been lacking a little bit.

“The fact that he is a threat to hit the ball out of the ballpark gives us a little bit different dimension there.”

Barajas is hitting .225 on the season with 12 home runs and a .677 OPS, which is far better than the .492 OPS for Ausmus and Ellis’ .440 mark.

Torre said he remained unsure of how he would use Barajas and Ausmus, but he wanted to see what the Dodgers had in Barajas before making a decision.

“I don’t know yet, we’ll play him [Tuesday],” Torre said. “My guess is he’ll get a good portion of the playing time, and we’ll give Ausmus a couple games a week.

“I could make more decisions after watching him.”

Billingsley pushed back to Saturday

MILWAUKEE — With Chad Billingsley still feeling the effects of a minor calf injury, Dodgers manager Joe Torre shook up his starting rotation a bit once again on Tuesday.

Billingsley has been bumped back to start Saturday night in Colorado, while rookie right-hander Carlos Monasterios will get the nod for Thursday’s series finale at Miller Park.

“He probably could’ve pitched Thursday,” Torre said of Billingsley. “But with the fact that we needed a fifth starter Saturday, we figured we’d rather give him the extra couple days.”

Covering first base on a grounder on Saturday in the second inning, Billingsley said he “kind of tweaked” his calf, but was unaffected by the injury.

According to Torre, the calf bothers Billingsley more off the mound than on it.

“It may not make a difference,” Torre said of the extra time off. “But if it’s going to be a plus for him, then so be it. As long as we needed the fifth starter one place or the other, we just decided to give him the extra days off.”

Torre attends Selig ceremony Tuesday

MILWAUKEE — With the Brewers having honored Allan H. “Bud” Selig with a ceremony earlier in the afternoon, Dodgers manager Joe Torre took some time before Tuesday’s game to reflect on his relationship with the Commissioner.

Torre, who attended the ceremony with his brother, Frank, and a long list of local and national dignitaries, had nothing but positive things to say about Selig and the ceremony honoring the man who he first met during his playing days with the Milwaukee Braves.

“I was very touched by the whole thing because I’ve known Bud so long, since like ’56,” Torre said. “He sold me my first car.”

When Torre broke into the big leagues with Milwaukee in 1960, Selig was working with his father for a car leasing business at the time. But Selig’s true passion was baseball, and he was the team’s largest public stockholder before the Braves left Milwaukee in 1965.

While they shared their time in Milwaukee, Torre and Selig formed a lasting friendship.

“I’ve known Bud for a long time and the one thing that’s been consistent with him, whether you agree with him or don’t agree with him, he’s never lost his excitement for the game and his passion to do the right thing,” Torre said.

“It’s tough to not get emotional when you see how long he’s been doing this, and they wouldn’t have anything like this unless it was for him, because this ballclub left in ’65 and it looked very bleak for this city.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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