Torre looking to bring focus back to Dodgers

Torre looking to bring focus back to Dodgers

NEW YORK -- In the wake of general manager Ned Colletti's criticism of his last-place club, Dodgers manager Joe Torre took a share of the blame, then he held a team meeting.

"There's plenty of blame to go around when you don't play well, that's no secret," Torre said before Wednesday's game. "We need to improve in a lot of areas, and that's my responsibility. We have to find a way to make things happen."

Torre conceded that his team's focus has wandered.

"When you're struggling, you're not as focused," he said. "You probably worry about too many things instead of concentrating on one thing at a time."

After getting swept in Tuesday's doubleheader by the Mets, Torre said the Dodgers need to put a winning streak together to get back that "conceit." Colletti's comments indicated a concern that the young Dodgers were taking things for granted.

"I don't know about arrogance," said Torre, "but sometimes when young players have success, there's a tendency to think it's easier than it really is. This game has a way of catching up to you and humbling you."

Colletti also said some players weren't hustling.

"I'm not sure anybody looks good losing," Torre said. "As I say, we've got to find a way to make all the pieces work together. Right now, you see a lot of frustration. Our young players are not there yet. [In] today's world, we want things to happen quickly. That's the nature of society. Young players have success and think, 'OK, that's how it is.' Then it bites you in the butt.

"I'm not of a mind to think that players don't care, but you get to the point where you get frustrated, and all of a sudden, you lose your discipline. It doesn't mean it's OK to do it. It's my job to reel it in."

As for Colletti's criticism of Matt Kemp's baserunning and defense, Torre agreed with Kemp that the center fielder puts in his work.

"He is here early, he gets in a lot of work -- that's physical," said Torre. "The major part of the game is the mental part. Dealing with failure is the major part of competing right now. Great players, over the years, do a better job of bouncing back.

"When he had a hot start, he got the most attention. The way he started off, we certainly had high expectations, but he's gone through a flat spot now. He's frustrated now. Matty has been like a lot of young kids -- still finding their way. Last year, he came so quickly, I've praised the fact that he came quicker than I thought and he set a standard, and when it doesn't happen, he's the first to get attention. He's still learning. I don't think the problem is terminal, but it's magnified by losing."

Torre said he wouldn't speculate whether Colletti's criticism was meant to get his club's attention.

"Ned is not one to mince words," Torre said. "He's an emotional guy. He cares very much; this is his product. He works hard and expects everyone else to work hard. Ned's been around the game a long time and he doesn't like what he sees. I don't think anybody in the clubhouse likes what they see."