Manny set to embark on rehab assignment
LA slugger to play Wednesday at Class A Inland Empire
LOS ANGELES -- Manny Ramirez took batting practice and ran at 90 percent at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, his last step before a rehab assignment at Class A Inland Empire begins Wednesday.
Ramirez, on the DL three times this season, has been out for a month because of a strained right calf. The Dodgers didn't know until right before first pitch with the Rockies Tuesday night where Ramirez would end up doing his rehab, at Inland Empire or Triple-A Albuquerque. Inland Empire is home Tuesday through Friday, while Albuquerque is in Tacoma through Friday before returning home for a nearly two-week-long homestand.
Team trainer Stan Conte said it was possible Ramirez could spend some time with Albuquerque as well as Inland Empire, but that where Ramirez rehabs wasn't of much concern.
"From a medical standpoint it doesn't make any difference," Conte said. "He needs to run at high intensity, in game situations."
To reach those high-intensity moments, Ramirez will likely be playing more left field than DH while on assignment. Conte said the team might treat Ramirez more conservatively than if it were April, but said everything ultimately depends on how Ramirez says he feels.
"What we typically would do is do progression," Conte said. "He might play four or five innings, then six or seven innings."
Dodgers manager Joe Torre in the past has said he preferred Ramirez rehab at Triple-A, where the caliber of pitching is nearer to the big leagues, but he's also previously let the veteran decide where he'd be most comfortable playing.
Back tightness delays rehab for Furcal
LOS ANGELES -- Hopes of Rafael Furcal and Manny Ramirez leaving for rehab assignments simultaneously were dashed Tuesday when Furcal felt tightness in his lower back.
On the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3, Furcal was scheduled to meet with Dr. Robert Watkins, his back surgeon, at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday in a routine meeting that was scheduled before Furcal felt the tightness.
"He came in a little tight today, didn't look terrible, but we were hoping that he had nothing," team trainer Stan Conte said. "So the fact that he had some tightness is concerning with a guy who had a back problem before. We take a half a step back and see how he does the rest of the day."
Furcal had been doing baseball activities at a steadily increasing intensity through Monday. Furcal took the day off from baseball activities Tuesday, received treatment and was to be re-evaluated Wednesday.
Torre, Scully recall Thomson's 'Shot' in '51
LOS ANGELES -- Joe Torre, a childhood Giants fan, and Vin Scully, a lifelong Dodgers broadcaster, were both close to the action on Oct. 3, 1951, when Bobby Thomson hit the home run known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" to propel the New York Giants past the Brooklyn Dodgers, into the World Series. Thomson, 86, passed away on Monday.
"I was sitting at home watching it on television, giving a play-by-play to my sister on the phone, she was at work," Torre said. "And I screamed when Bobby hit the home run. We got cut off, which was aggravating because she worked for the telephone company."
Living in Brooklyn, Torre looked out his window.
"Somebody had one of these old cars with the rumble seat, they had the whole thing soaped up with 'Champs' ... I got to know [Thomson] fairly well, he was at a lot of golf tournaments. Just one of the sweetest kind of men you could ever know."
Scully began broadcasting for the Dodgers the season before, but the way the scheduling worked out, he was off the air the day of the home run. So he watched the game from behind broadcasters Red Barber and Connie Desmond, hunched over in a tight, poorly shaped press box at the Polo Grounds.
Scully said he never was close to Thomson, seeing him last after Peter Magowan's group took over the San Francisco Giants in 1993. To maintain his integrity as a broadcaster, Scully made sure to never get close to players. There was one exception.
"And that was Ralph Branca, the pitcher [who gave up the home run]," Scully said. "And the one thing I would really stress, I mean Bobby was the hero, and it was very easy to be a hero. To me, the fella, and again, I'm coloring this perhaps out of friendship, but the fella who came out of that incident 10 feet tall was Ralph Branca."
Kuo unavailable to close opener vs. Rox
LOS ANGELES -- De facto closer Hong-Chih Kuo was unavailable for Tuesday night's series opener with the Rockies a night after letting up three runs in a 4-3 loss to the Braves. The Dodgers have been hesitant to use the fragile Kuo on back-to-back days all season.
That meant no guarantee, though, that Jonathan Broxton would get the ball in Kuo's place. Torre said he would play the matchups and said both Broxton and Octavio Dotel, who has plenty of closing experience, could go for the save if needed.
"Closer by committee" experiments in the Majors have largely failed, but Torre said the lack of a day-in, day-out closer wasn't a problem.
"It doesn't really matter," Torre said. "It's tough only because Brox is our guy and we need to get him back to where, I don't want to say it's automatic, but when you go out there, he's going to feel like he's supposed to feel. Right now, when you haven't succeeded, you've struggled, until you go out there and get a couple under your belt, it's going to be a little uneasy."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.