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Torre makes Gonzalez want to return

Luis Gonzalez said he has changed his mind about no longer wanting to play for the Dodgers, the reason being their recent hiring of Joe Torre as manager.

The 40-year-old left fielder, who filed for free agency Wednesday, was dissatisfied with his diminished role on the team and declared at the end of last season that he had no intention of retuning to Los Angeles.

“This is no knock against Grady,” Gonzalez said, referring to former manager Grady Little, who resigned Tuesday. “But the credibility that Joe and his coaches bring is definitely intriguing.”

Gonzalez said he thought that Torre would help the Dodgers on the free-agent market.

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“I think it intrigues a lot of players that they hired a manager of the caliber of Joe,” Gonzalez said. “I think it makes a huge difference. He’s been in how many World Series? He’s done it on both sides, as a player and as a manager. Players go through struggles, he’s been there, done that. Everyone who’s played for him respects him.”

Torre won four World Series managing the New York Yankees and was the most valuable player in the National League in 1971.

Gonzalez acknowledged being uncertain whether the Dodgers would want him. The desire to part ways appeared to go both ways, as the Dodgers showed no interest in re-signing him.

Gonzalez said that he didn’t speak to General Manager Ned Colletti at the end of the season and that he hasn’t had any contact with the club since.

Gonzalez hit .278 with 15 home runs and 68 runs batted in for the Dodgers. He has 2,502 hits in his career and said his goal is to reach 3,000.

-- Dylan Hernandez


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