Intentional walks piling up for Manny

Intentional walks piling up for Manny

LOS ANGELES -- Opposing managers have been utilizing the one strategy that ensures Manny Ramirez cannot beat them by putting up four fingers and letting him walk to first base.

In just 144 plate appearances this season with Dodgers, Ramirez already has been intentionally walked 12 times, nearly halfway to the team's season intentional walks record of 25 set by Bill Russell batting primarily eighth in 1974.

"It doesn't matter who you bat behind Manny, they're not going to pitch to him unless they have to," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "It doesn't really matter. Just the fact that he is who he is and they respect that."

Torre said he would alternate lefty James Loney and righty Casey Blake in the cleanup spot behind Ramirez, likely based on pitching matchups.

Ramirez has been walked intentionally four times in his past two games. D-backs manager Bob Melvin walked him intentionally in the second and fourth innings with a base open on Friday night.

That's after Melvin watched Ramirez hit .696 (14-for-23) with four homers, four doubles, seven RBIs and a 1.391 slugging percentage in his first six games against the D-backs this season entering this weekend's series.

"I think certain teams do certain things," Torre said. "We noticed with Arizona that's what they're going to do with him. You make somebody else beat you, and I can certainly understand why."

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.