Asked about protégé Don Mattingly's uncertain future, former Dodgers manager Joe Torre explained Sunday why Mattingly might be concerned about his lame-duck status.
As the New York Yankees manager in 2007, Torre found himself in a situation similar to Mattingly's. Torre's contract was about to expire and there was mounting speculation he wouldn't be back the following season.
"Players have to answer a lot of questions and that's the tough part for a manager," Torre said. "If it was just on the manager and you just had to respond as a manager, that's your job. You get paid more money than anyone else on your coaching staff based on the fact that you have to be there and respond to all the questions. But I know in New York — and I don't know what's happening here — my concern was the fact that they were asking players. I don't know what they were asking them, but it was related to me. Whether they like me or don't like me, it's a tough question to answer."
Torre and the Yankees parted ways after that season. Torre went to the Dodgers and took Mattingly with him to be his hitting coach.
The Dodgers haven't announced whether they will exercise their club option on Mattingly's contract for next season. There has been increased chatter in baseball circles about Mattingly's future after Game 2 of the National League division series with the Atlanta Braves.
In that game, a Dodgers' 4-3 loss, Mattingly made an ill-fated decision to intentionally walk Reed Johnson to face former All-Star Jason Heyward.
Torre, who was representing the commissioner's office at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, said he hadn't called Mattingly to give him a pep talk. "Donnie's a tough kid," Torre said.
As far as Mattingly's decision to walk Johnson, the ever-diplomatic Torre tap-danced around the subject. "I wasn't watching," Torre said. "It's tough to say."
No 'I' in team
With the Dodgers taking a two-games-to-one lead in the series, they probably won't start Clayton Kershaw on three days' rest in Game 4.
But Ricky Nolasco said he would understand if the Dodgers started Kershaw on Monday instead of him.
"This isn't about me," Nolasco said. "This is about the team. Whatever decision they make is going to be the best decision for the team. So, I'm with whatever. They're the one who get paid to make those decisions and stuff like that. So, I'll be here ready to take the ball whenever they ask me to pitch."
When Fernando Valenzuela threw out the ceremonial first pitch, scout Mike Brito stood behind catcher Tim Federowicz holding a radar gun. Brito was the scout who signed Valenzuela.
Even if instant replay were in place, the controversial caught-stealing call involving Dee Gordon in Game 2 wouldn't have been overturned, according to Torre. "Whichever way it was called, all the replays I looked at, I didn't see enough to overturn what was called originally," Torre said. "You really have to see something that's really defined in order to overturn. On that particular play — and I saw everything they showed me on TV and I know people were back in New York looking at stuff — it was not sure when he caught the ball that the glove didn't graze the uniform."
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