Torre shuffles lineup in series finale

Torre shuffles lineup in series finale

PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Andre Ethier, who rolled his left ankle Wednesday, was one of five position starters from Wednesday night not in the lineup Thursday. The others were second baseman Blake DeWitt, third baseman Casey Blake, left fielder Manny Ramirez and catcher Russell Martin.

Torre said he's committed to resting Blake and Ramirez in day games after night games. In Blake's case, said Torre, it's hoped the rest will help Blake avoid hamstring and quad problems that recurred last year.

Torre said he planned to start Martin, but changed his mind because of the four-hour game Wednesday night, and he didn't want to push the catcher, who missed most of Spring Training with a strained groin.

Torre said he wanted to give Jamey Carroll a start at shortstop and rest Rafael Furcal, but was talked out of it by Furcal, who reached base three times Wednesday night and stole two bases after having only 12 all last year. So, Torre instead started Carroll at second base for DeWitt, saying the reasoning was the Pirates' left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm, not the fact that DeWitt committed a 10th-inning error that cost the game. "DeWitt's had great at-bats, no question, but this is an opportunity to get Jamey some at-bats," said Torre.

In addition to Carroll, reserves getting starts were Ronnie Belliard at third base, Brad Ausmus behind the plate, Reed Johnson in left field and Garret Anderson in right. Torre said he put Anderson in right because of the "smaller outfield" compared to left field.

"They play a speed guy [Lastings Milledge] in left field. [Batting coach] Donnie [Mattingly] called my attention to it," said Torre.