Now Commenting On:

Adversity won't deter veteran Dodgers

Adversity won't deter veteran Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- As pundits ponder Manny Ramirez's drug suspension and the potential fallout, his club doesn't have time for any of that.

Manny Ramirez

"Manny's talent in the middle of the lineup is pretty awesome, but you don't have it so you don't sit around and wish you did," said manager Joe Torre. "I lost David Cone in 1996 [to an aneurysm]. We wanted him in the starting rotation, but he couldn't be there. We have to treat this like an injury where he's gone for a period of time and we have to hold our own until he gets back."

From a pragmatic standpoint, that's pretty much the unanimous opinion in the clubhouse. You're either there, or you aren't. Ramirez's suspension isn't even the worst handed down to a Los Angeles Dodger. Closer Steve Howe was suspended for the entire 1984 season for cocaine use.

"The result is the same as an injury," said veteran Mark Loretta. "I remember with Milwaukee, we lost players we were counting on -- Jeromy Burnitz, Ben McDonald, Phil Nevin. Manny is one of the best -- if not the best -- hitters, but he's not available. Just about every team goes through periods when one of the key contributors is out."

Brad Ausmus, the most experienced player on the club, remembers a similar situation in 2003, when the Astros lost ace starter Roy Oswalt for two months to a groin pull. Oswalt won 10 games that year, nine fewer than the year before and 10 fewer than the next year.

"Everyone in baseball has to look at it like an injury," Ausmus said. "Regardless of how it happened, you look at it the same way mentally. He's not here and we can't dwell on it. We have to move on without him until he returns. So there's really nothing to talk about. Talking about it won't make it any better. We're already dealing with it. Nobody needs any more information about it. He's gone for 50 games."

Ausmus said the drop in media presence -- of maybe 75 percent from Thursday to Friday -- supports his case.

Torre, who said he was "exhausted" after Thursday's press conference and loss to the Nationals, wasn't so sure.

"I'm not sure it has sunk in yet," Torre said. "We're so used to seeing him. But it could have been an injury that knocked him out. The reality is, we have to force ourselves to move on. We'll certainly miss him, but we can' t live there. It will be a distraction, but eventually it will fade away."

Veteran infielder Casey Blake summed up that attitude after Thursday night's loss.

"I don't see or don't feel any impact at all," Blake said when asked about Ramirez's absence. "Like we've said before, are we better with him? Yes, we are. We are still very, very good without him. What are we going to do? Hang it up? Shut it down the rest of the year? No.

"We're competitors, this is our job and we take it seriously. I've got faith in everyone in here. You have to overcome adversity in life and at work."

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

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español