Torre talks with Ethier about outburst
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre met with Andre Ethier before Sunday's game with the New York Mets. The subject was the emotional style the All-Star right fielder brings to the field, which Torre has said he doesn't want to stifle but also doesn't want to become a detriment.
Ethier attacked the bat rack with his bat after popping up with a man on third and one out in the 12th inning on Saturday, but Torre wasn't as concerned about that as he was with Ethier's reaction to the previous pitch, when third base umpire C.B. Bucknor made a questionable ruling that Ethier had gone around on a checked swing, giving him a 2-2 count that could have been 3-1.
Torre said that with the bench already depleted because the Dodgers are carrying 13 pitchers, the sight of Ethier arguing the call, however mildly, was somewhat alarming because of the possibility he could be ejected.
"We chatted," Torre said. "Even though it was a closed-door meeting, it wasn't anything super secret. He fights himself so much sometimes that he forgets where he is. My job is to clear out all that unnecessary stuff in there. I think he gets himself out a lot of times.
"He is such a good kid, but he puts all this stuff on himself."
Ethier, whose average has dropped from a National League-leading .392 to .300 since he returned from the disabled list on May 31 after breaking a bone in his pinkie finger, was given a day to rest on Saturday before entering as a pinch hitter in the 10th and playing the rest of the game in right field. He was back in the lineup on Sunday.
Although schedules for the 2011 season won't be released for at least a couple more months, the interleague portion of the Dodgers' 2011 slate has been tentatively set, according to a source who has seen it and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
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In addition to their annual home-and-home series with the Angels, which as usual includes three games in each ballpark, the Dodgers will host a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers. They also will visit the Chicago White Sox for a three-game series for the second time in three years, and they will get their first look at the new Target Field in Minneapolis when they visit the Minnesota Twins for a three-game series for the first time since 2006, when they were swept at the Metrodome.
That schedule is subject to change right up until it is officially released by Major League Baseball, something that usually happens around the end of the regular season.
Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal was out of the lineup on Sunday. Torre wanted to give him back-to-back days off with the off-day to follow on Monday. Furcal had been in the lineup for every game since June 22 and every day since July 14, the day after the All-Star break.
While he didn't start, Furcal did pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth inning.Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.