07/22/10 8:48 PM ET
Torre expects Dodgers to strengthen pitching
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
With the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching, guess what one of the topics was?
"I think something will be done," Torre said. "I don't know what it is. It's no secret we're trying to figure out the pitching staff -- bullpen or starter. Go to that area first, and see if we can accomplish something that makes sense."
The pitcher that probably makes the most sense for the Dodgers is one of their original farmhands, left-hander Ted Lilly of the Cubs. He was drafted by the Dodgers in 1996, was traded by the Dodgers to the Expos before he reached the Major Leagues in the Carlos Perez deal and pitched parts of three seasons for Torre with the Yankees.
The Dodgers also have been linked to just about every pitcher believed on the market, from Paul Maholm to Roy Oswalt (despite the $30 million commitment that comes with him) to relievers Octavio Dotel, Jason Fraser and Scott Downs. They also want to add a reliever, what with the indefinite absence of Ronald Belisario and the season-long struggles of George Sherrill.
Torre tabs Monasterios for Saturday start
LOS ANGELES -- Manager Joe Torre on Thursday named Rule 5 Draft rookie Carlos Monasterios to start Saturday's game against the Mets.
It will be the seventh start of the season for Monasterios, who has been shuffled between the back end of the bullpen, where he's had great success, and the back end of the starting rotation, where he's had not so much.
Monasterios is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA as a starter and 1-0 with a 1.75 ERA as a reliever. In his only appearance against the Mets at Citi Field in April, he pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
The Mets facilitated the Dodgers' acquisition of Monasterios, who was drafted from the Phillies by the Mets in the December Rule 5 Draft and then immediately dealt to the Dodgers for cash in an arranged deal.
Monasterios slides back into the fifth-starter spot, which was filled most recently by James McDonald. McDonald has since replaced Monasterios as a long reliever.
"The only other option on the club right now was J-Mac, and we just think we need his ability in the bullpen," said Torre. "He's durable and can come out of the bullpen and strike somebody out."
Torre also said journeyman Jack Taschner, whose contract was purchased Wednesday, will replace the struggling George Sherrill as the situational left-handed reliever and Sherrill will be used earlier in the game "until we get enough good outings that he's confident what's coming out, and we are, too."
Though not needed, Kuo was good to go
LOS ANGELES -- Joe Torre watched part of Wednesday night's game in general manager Ned Colletti's press-level suite while serving his suspension and, no, didn't think acting manager Don Mattingly had lost his mind when Hong-Chih Kuo started throwing in the bullpen after pitching two innings the night before.
"We decided before the game to go without [Jonathan] Broxton, and Kuo could go 20 pitches, even though he pitched the night before," said Torre. "We're reluctant to do it, but if push comes to shove, he said he felt great."
Kuo, an All-Star for the first time this year, has had four elbow operations and has been on the disabled list three of Torre's four seasons with the Dodgers. Torre has not used the lefty in back-to-back games this year.
"I'm overprotective," said Torre. "He's lobbying and knocking on the door the last month and a half to pitch more. If you're going to do it, this is the time of the year. Last night we were in a weakened condition. [Pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt asked me before the game. It depends on how many pitches he throws and how many times he warms up."
Kuo was the unneeded closer for Chad Billingsley's shutout because Torre decided not to use Broxton, who followed his 44-pitch blown save Sunday with Tuesday night's rules fiasco in which he was forcibly removed with the bases loaded when Mattingly made two trips to the mound within seconds.
What also happened that night is that Broxton's fastball was clocked consistently around 91 mph, which didn't go unnoticed by Torre.
"I think it's all about what we all go through as players," said Torre. "He may be squeezing the ball a little bit. In St. Louis, he threw a lot of fastballs [in the upper 90s] but in the same place. The velocity was real good, but you can't throw hard enough to throw in the same place. Right now he's forcing it. I don't think it's fatigue."
When it comes to testing, it's all about trust
LOS ANGELES -- Here's Dodgers manager Joe Torre's take on the announcement by Major League baseball that Minor Leaguers will be tested for human growth hormone:
"Whatever needs to be done to regain the full trust of the fans," said Torre. "I know Bud Selig is passionate about the game, whether you like him or not, and he tries to do the right thing. Baseball has more control at the Minor League system level."
Asked whether this decision would be accepted by the Major League Players Association, Torre said, "We'll see the results, then it's all about negotiations after that."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.