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08/12/08 9:47 PM ET

Torre downplays latest Manny moment

Manager calls slugger's trip to clubhouse a misunderstanding

LOS ANGELES -- Manny being Manny?

Nope, just a little misunderstanding.

That's how Dodgers manager Joe Torre characterized the latest Manny moment, when Ramirez headed to the clubhouse at the end of the eighth inning Monday night and returned to the field late to start the ninth only after outfielder Juan Pierre and bench coach Bob Schaefer went looking for him.

Ramirez jogged back to his position in left field with his jersey half-buttoned and later said he had needed to use the restroom.

The misunderstanding started when Ramirez returned to the dugout after being forced out at the plate for the first out in the eighth.

Torre usually shakes the slugger's hand or gives him a fist pound when he comes back to the dugout after a hit, but this time they were about eight feet away. When Ramirez started moving toward his manager for the congratulatory bump, Torre waved him off and told him not to worry about it.

Ramirez, whose dreadlocks were put up in a bun when he showed up to the ballpark on Tuesday, took the wave from Torre to mean he was being lifted for a defensive replacement and thus ended up taking his bats with him to the clubhouse; Torre had just meant for him not to worry about walking back toward him for the fist bump.

"He was still getting on me about it today," Torre said. "[He told me], 'You told me to do this.' Well, I can understand why [he] thought that, but that's fine."

Torre said the umpires were OK with the momentary delay because that happens once in a while when a player breaks a piece of equipment and has to make a quick trip to the clubhouse to change.

The manager also believes the incident has received more attention nationally than it would have if another player had been involved because of all "the funny things" Ramirez has done over the years and the reputation he's developed from Manny being Manny.

But Torre said this misunderstanding will not affect the Dodgers like some of Ramirez's antics in Boston did to the Red Sox.

"Guys were laughing about it," Torre said.

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