Idle Manny happy to take day off for LA

Idle Manny happy to take day off

DENVER -- After Manny Ramirez went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts Saturday night, manager Joe Torre went to tell his left fielder to take Sunday off and found him in the whirlpool.

"Tomorrow," Torre said to Ramirez, motioning with his hand across his neck to signal a no-go.

"He went [thumbs up]. He won't admit to it, but he'll take it. I never think about giving him rest. But I watched and he was a little behind yesterday. He seemed cheating a little. You get tired and start the engine a little earlier."

Torre said he's received little static from players about his lineups, saying this club is "a pretty easy group right now. When you win, that's pretty much the case."

He said the addition of respected veterans Brad Ausmus and Mark Loretta as reserves has set a businesslike tone that can be found in the clubhouse and on the bench. The manager appreciates it.

"Some guys spend so much time on the bench griping about not playing they forget it's time to get in the game," Torre said. "This club is very professional."

Ramirez took his day off as Torre would expect.

"It's such a long season, it doesn't matter," Ramirez said. "Everybody needs a day off. What do you think I am, Cal Ripken?"

Ramirez wasn't always this accepting.

"I don't have to hit 40 or 50 home runs," he said. "I enjoy myself every day and what happens, happens. I'm not 26 anymore. I don't have to worry about doing this or doing that. When you're young, you're always thinking what you want to do, this and that. I already did that. Now I'm not worrying about anything. I'm not a young kid anymore."

Torre started Juan Pierre for Ramirez in left and batted him leadoff. Blake DeWitt and Juan Castro started for third baseman Casey Blake and shortstop Rafael Furcal in the day game after a night game.

Blake said his left elbow, struck by a Matt Daley fastball Saturday night, did not swell as badly as he feared. He said he could have played with it Sunday.

Torre did as little juggling of the batting order as possible with the three changes. He kept Andre Ethier, James Loney, Russell Martin and Matt Kemp together, moving them up one spot in the batting order as a group behind Pierre and Orlando Hudson.

Torre said he's comfortable with the way Ethier has responded to the cleanup spot.

"I thought I'd have to protect Manny with opposite guys [righty vs. lefty, lefty vs. right], but Ethier handles left-handers pretty well," Torre said.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.