Manny on bench for fourth straight game

Manny on bench for fourth straight game

DENVER -- Manny Ramirez, out of the Dodgers' lineup for a fourth consecutive game Sunday, will start Monday night against the Phillies, manager Joe Torre said.

"He's tentatively scheduled to start tomorrow," Torre said.

But Torre also gave further indications that he believes the current Dodgers team is better without Ramirez playing than with him, which sets the stage for Tuesday morning, the deadline for the Dodgers to make a deal with the Chicago White Sox for what has become a $20 million bench player.

Torre has been saying his team is better with Scott Podsednik in left field than Ramirez for four games now by virtue of his starting lineup.

"Anything I've done here has been game-related," Torre said as far as his lineups. "The game is the priority for me as long as the games still are important."

Although Ramirez has Hall of Fame credentials, he's also 38 years old, has become essentially a singles and doubles hitter and last week came off his third stint on the disabled list with leg injuries.

"He certainly has value, talent and all that good stuff, it's a matter of which way you want to proceed," said Torre. "If we had the DH, we wouldn't be having this conversation, but we don't have that, so it means you put together a lineup with [defensive] coverage, like here [with a massive outfield to cover].

"There's a lot more things to think about. Manny has been on the DL. We've made changes in personnel. Podsednik is an interesting player for me. When he's on base, there's a danger something can happen. He brings a different dynamic that's worked for us."

So, there are the baseball reasons why Ramirez, who started Tuesday and Wednesday after being activated, hasn't started since. Then there's the business side. Ramirez is owed another $4.3 million this year that the Dodgers would like not to be paying, especially if the baseball side doesn't feel like he's good enough to play every day.

Also, if a deal is scuttled because Ramirez insists on a contract extension from the White Sox in return for waiving his no-trade clause, he would do it with the knowledge that he's likely to spend most of the next month on the Dodgers' bench instead of getting four at-bats a game as the White Sox designated hitter at a time when he's auditioning for a free-agent contract.

Torre said he was looking forward to Tuesday's resolution of the situation.

"If Manny is here, obviously he would get a significant amount of playing time," Torre said. "Until I'm told somebody will not be on the club, I have to think and make plans for what happens."

Torre reiterated that he hasn't been told by general manager Ned Colletti not to play Ramirez, but they have talked.

"He's told me, 'You put the team on the field you think will win a ballgame,'" Torre said. "That's been his stance in this case, about Manny."