04/21/08 8:05 PM ET
Torre yet to settle on lineup
Struggling offense has manager searching for right combo
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Acknowledging that this Dodgers club is "the toughest team I've ever managed to make a lineup out," Torre said he was hopeful this latest version might shake his club out of a slump that included a horrid 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position, while plating three runs and getting swept in a three-game weekend series in Atlanta.
Torre also held a team meeting above and beyond the normal pitchers and hitters meetings that take place before the first game of a series against a new opponent. The essence of his message was to turn the page from one of the worst starts in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
"The only thing I said was to start today," Torre said. "Sometimes you tend to carry the baggage forward. Just leave the weekend in Atlanta and start fresh from today."
Veteran Mark Sweeney, who has seen nine Major League managers handle slumps, said he understands why Torre has the reputation he has.
"A lot of it is in the calmness he has," said Sweeney. "He understands the relevance and timing of our situation. Yet, he's still able to get the message across loud and clear. It's the way he goes about his business, but also the way he leans on his coaches to get the message across in their ways.
"His [Yankees] team went through this last year. You know he's been there, done that. His credibility goes a long ways."
As for another day of lineup juggling, Torre conceded he's not sure if it's for good or for a day.
"I just decided I'm just going to put more experienced guys in the middle of the lineup," Torre said, referring specifically to Garciaparra, who was 1-for-10 entering Monday's game and still searching for his stroke since returning from a broken hand. "I'd like to see if we can get men on base and knock them in and get a jump-start."
Torre said he wavered on where to put Jones, who homered on Saturday but went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Sunday, and Russell Martin, who homered on Sunday.
"Martin is more versatile in the No. 2 hole," said Torre. "Andruw yesterday, I don't want to say he took a step back, but it was a bad day. He didn't have a good approach."
Torre hasn't used the same batting order twice this season.
"Somebody told me that changing your mind is the highest form of intelligence, so I must be the smartest guy in the world," he said.
Torre started Matt Kemp over Juan Pierre because of Great American Ball Park's reputation for home runs.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.