[The Brazil Times nameplate] Overcast ~ 51°F  
High: 64°F ~ Low: 41°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Joe Torre addresses Dodgers on first day of camp

Friday, February 15, 2008

By The Associated Press

Joe Torre sized up some of his pitchers, signed autographs and addressed his new players in his first day in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform. Back in Yankees pinstripes, Joe Girardi settled in as Torre's replacement.

"I'm just going to be who I am," Girardi said. "No matter who came in, their approach would be different. We're not clones."

The differences between Girardi and Torre were obvious Friday as the Dodgers worked out at Vero Beach, Fla., and the Yankees went through their program in Tampa, Fla.

Torre's first day in Dodger Blue started with a knock on the clubhouse door -- he had locked his keys in his office the night before. Obviously he had more important things on his mind -- like his opening remarks.

"You want to send a message on what to expect from me. I'm not very complicated. Hopefully, the openness that we bring here is going to make them comfortable," Torre said. "The access is a two-way street. I want to be able to talk to them. If they want to talk to me, I want to be there for them."

The 67-year-old Torre addressed the team, then watched pitchers and catchers complete their initial workouts. This will be Torre's 27th season as a big league manager. The last 12 were with the New York Yankees, where he won four World Series titles.

Girardi began his tenure as Yankees manager by giving his team a glimpse of his contrasting style.

Girardi, who played for New York from 1996-99 and considers Torre a mentor, fastidiously picked up balls after batting practice and went to the backfields to watch players run. He also limited his end-of-workout session with reporters to 16 minutes, a fraction of Torre's 30-to-45 minute Q&As.

"He likes to be prepared," pitcher Mike Mussina said. "He's involved in the -- I don't want to say day-to-day, but the minute-to-minute stuff."

Girardi also had a little fun with his children after the workouts, pitching batting practice and frolicking on the field.

At Lakeland, Fla., Brandon Inge pledged to make the best of his role with the Detroit Tigers, which has been greatly reduced by the acquisition of third baseman Miguel Cabrera from Florida.

"As far as right now, I am with the Detroit Tigers," Inge said. "I just want to play every single day. I love this organization and the Detroit Tigers are in my blood, but there's not a starting role for me. I will never be a cancer around this team and I don't plan to be a distraction."

Manager Jim Leyland said the Tigers have been trying to accommodate Inge's request for a trade but there haven't been any offers that were acceptable to general manager Dave Dombrowski.

So for now, Inge is working out as a catcher. And Leyland might need to keep him around until at least May, when reserve catcher Vance Wilson returns from an injury.

At Winter Haven, Fla., right-hander Paul Byrd exchanged hugs with his Cleveland Indians teammates and clubhouse workers, ready to put a "stressful" offseason behind him.

Byrd met with baseball officials Dec. 17, regarding his use of human growth hormone -- revealed during the AL championship series. He was subsequently named in the Mitchell Report.

Byrd wouldn't answer several question posed to him about the investigation. It's uncertain whether he will face discipline from the commissioner.

"At this point, I'm still awaiting their decision in regards to the past and in regards to the future," he said. "That is really all I can say."

At Tucson, Ariz., Colorado Rockies reliever Matt Herges was also greeted warmly by his NL-champion teammates.

"We've got your back," pitcher Aaron Cook assured the 37-year-old reliever, the only current Rockies player named in the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball.

Herges' apology this week for using performance-enhancing drugs earned him support, but a penalty could await.

"I'm praying there's no suspension," Herges said. "But if there is, that's the price I have to pay."

At Mesa, Ariz., prized Japanese free agent Kosuke Fukudome was welcomed by his new Chicago Cubs teammates with a prank.

Carlos Zambrano had pulled Fukudome's familiar No. 1 jersey over his broad shoulders and Fukudome found a No. 11 hanging in his locker instead.

"I was surprised there was an extra '1,"' Fukudome said.

Zambrano suddenly pulled off the No. 1 shirt, handed it to Fukudome and greeted him.

"That was a welcome," Zambrano said. "Just let him know we are his family and he can spend a good time this season with us. He can help us and can feel comfortable here with the Cubs."

The Cubs signed Fukudome, a prized free agent, to a $48 million, four-year contract to be their right fielder.

Pitchers Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees, Brian Fuentes of the Rockies and Jose Valverde of the Astros lost in salary arbitration as baseball teams improved to 4-0 with four cases potentially remaining this year.

Three players who had been scheduled for hearings next week reached agreements. Cincinnati gave second baseman Brandon Phillips a $27 million, four-year contract, and Seattle settled on a $7 million, one-year deal with pitcher Erik Bedard, obtained from Baltimore last week. Shortstop J.J. Hardy and Milwaukee agreed to a $2.65 million, one-year contract.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: