Manager Joe Torre Sunday morning said he will continue to carefully handle reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, whose four elbow operations have taken their toll. Torre said he was told by trainer Stan Conte that Kuo is experiencing the same elbow “issues” as last spring, but “not quite as bad,” and not the same that sidelined Kuo last September.
Torre said 200 innings were realistic for Clayton Kershaw, who turns 21 next month. Kershaw threw a combined 171 innings last year, including 61 1/3 at Double-A.
Newly arrived second baseman Orlando Hudson is expected to play in Monday’s intrasquad game, with Jason Schmidt scheduled to pitch. Hudson will see his first game action since undergoing two operations in August to repair a dislocated fracture of his left wrist. It will be Schmidt’s first game action since undergoing a second shoulder operation in September.
Cory Wade, out a week after a cortisone injection in his right shoulder, will resume playing catch Monday. Yhency Brazoban had a cortisone injection Saturday and will be sidelined several days. — Ken Gurnick
Two years ago, Tony Abreu nearly made the Major League club out of Spring Training. But a series of injuries kept him off the field for the last 1 1/2 seasons and triggered organizational grumbling that he was soft. Now, coming off arthroscopic hip surgery, Abreu could resume his career as a key utility player, according to manager Joe Torre, because he can play second base, third base and shortstop. Torre said his bench shapes up a little light at first base, although he said Mark Loretta and Casey Blake can play the position. He said Andre Ethier again volunteered to work at the position. — Ken Gurnick
Here’s a bulletin — pitcher Yhency Brazoban has a sore shoulder and can’t throw. Brazoban hasn’t been healthy since 2005 because of elbow and shoulder surgeries. Manager Joe Torre also said catcher Russell Martin continues to improve from a sore foot; Cory Wade has responded to a cortisone injection in his shouder and might resume throwing Sunday; Travis Schlichting’s stiff back has improved and he will begin tossing. — Ken Gurnick
The Dodgers gutted the roster with the departure of 15 free agents over the winter. Manager Joe Torre didn’t make a linkage, but he likes this year’s clubhouse better than last year’s.
“Overall, there seems to be a lighter mood in the clubhouse,” he said. “It could be my imagination. It just seems everybody is having a little more fun.”
Torre joined the fun during the speech he made before the first full-squad workout with a joke about clubhouse confidentiality that made reference to his best-selling book, “The Yankee Years.” Among the criticisms that Torre has fended off since the release of the book was that it would negatively impact his relationship with his current club.
Among those who also addressed that first meeting was club vice chairman and president Jamie McCourt.
Torre also conceded Thursday that he overworked reliever Cory Wade during a stretch last August that left the right-hander on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Wade is already sidelined again with irritation in the same location. — Ken Gurnick
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he plans to give Rafael Furcal a day off a week early in the season to avoid overworking the shortstop, who is coming off back surgery.
Torre also said Jason Schmidt is tentatively scheduled to pitch Monday in an intrasquad game and next Friday in a “B” game against the Chicago White Sox. That would put Schmidt way ahead of last year, when he suffered a quick setback in the Spring and never faced batters coming off his first shoulder surgery, then required a second procedure in September. — Ken Gurnick
Joe Torre, entering the second year of a three-year contract, said he plans to retire as a manager after next season.
“I don’t envision going beyond this contract managing,” said the 68-year-old Torre.
He said he hoped to remain in the game in some capacity.
“I don’t think I’ll disconnect from baseball,” he said. “I hope somebody will deem me useful.”
— Ken Gurnick
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he caught news reports of Alex Rodriguez’s Tuesday press conference, but was on the practice field as it took place and hasn’t seen a complete replay. He deflected a question about the controversy impacting his former Yankees team.
“That’s run-of-the-mill stuff,” he said. “I don’t want to make light of it, it’s very serious, but as far as distractions go there, they have it on a regular basis.”
As for Rodriguez’s situation, Torre remained supportive.
“I just know how important his baseball is ot him and I hope he handles it allright,” he said. “When you see how many players and staff were there, that’s what the Yankees are all about, they’ll all help.” — Ken Gurnick
Red Sox pitcher Brad Penny told Yahoo.com that Dodgers coach Larry Bowa talked about him to other players behind his back last year and Bowa responded with a colorful critique of Penny’s work ethic, body type and leadership skills.
Manager Joe Torre wanted no part of that volleying.
“Let’s get the games started so we have something else to talk about,” Torre said. “I don’t want to talk about it. I’ll write it in my next book.”
General manager Ned Colletti, who paid Penny $2 million to leave rather than $9.25 million to stay, was equally evasive.
“I choose not to respond,” said Colletti. “I choose to wish him well.” — Ken Gurnick