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05/12/09 7:50 PM ET
Torre, players want to meet with Manny
Manager says visit would give club chance to offer support
By Joseph Santoliquito / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Torre handles distraction well. The Dodgers' manager looks at it placidly in the eye and doesn't blink. He didn't Tuesday as the Dodgers opened an important three-game series with the Phillies without star slugger Manny Ramirez, serving the fifth game of his 50-game suspension.
Torre calmly faced a phalanx of microphones, tape recorders, and what seemed like every electronic recording device known to man, and answered what promises to be a traveling show of Ramirez questions in each city the Dodgers visit.
Los Angeles is 1-3 without Ramirez, who on Thursday was suspended for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy. Ramirez did not make the trip to Philadelphia in a rematch of last season's National League Championship Series.
There is speculation that Ramirez can reunite with his teammates in Miami this weekend, when the Dodgers visit the Marlins.
"I talked to [Ramirez] the other day," Torre said. "I'm assuming there's a chance [Ramirez will be there in Miami]. We haven't been given any definitive information. He's beaten up over this, not that he thinks it's unfair, it's just that he's embarrassed and I think he just needs some time to clear his head. The sooner the better for everybody involved. We want to see him as a team. The players are supporting him because we know him as a person and we want to help him through that.
"He needs to just give the players a chance to hug him or talk to him. I don't think he needs to address the players, just to show up. It won't be anything negative. I've talked to him four times. He wasn't the same guy."
The other concern is how the Dodgers will react to their missing star. Through 27 games this season, Ramirez, who lives in Pembroke Pines, Fla., was hitting .348 with six homers and 20 RBIs. In 53 games with the Dodgers last season, Ramirez hit .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs.
But Torre quickly dispelled any leak in Los Angeles' offense, which is the second-best in the National League.
"Our ballclub is pretty good," Torre said. "The only thing I remind the guys is no one has to do extra, not do more than they can. The emotional stuff is over with. We'll only be as good as our pitching. This is a big road trip, starting here, and this is a good-hitting club."