Bowa questions effort, but ‘spirit’ concerns Torre

Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- On the day after Dodgers coach Larry Bowa said the team should be “embarrassed” by its performance in Philadelphia, Manager Joe Torre held a closed-door meeting Tuesday, reminding his players a division title remains within their grasp and urging them to shed the frustration that accompanied getting swept by the Phillies.

“We can’t base our personality on losing a game,” Torre said. “We’re still in position to control our own destiny. Let’s not lose our spirit.”

Bowa had questioned how the Dodgers had responded “emotionally and mentally” to the intensity of a pennant race. On Monday’s ESPN broadcast, former Dodgers ace Orel Hershiser echoed a similar refrain.

“I’ve seen teams play like this when they’re 30 games out,” Bowa said Monday. “There’s no excuse for it.”


Torre said he did not agree with Bowa’s assessment.

“He’s a tough-love guy,” Torre said. “I see where his emotions are. He’s frustrated by it, just like a lot of the players.”

Said Bowa on Tuesday: “I’m not frustrated. I don’t like losing. You’ve got to treat every game like it’s a playoff game.

“When you’re three games out with 30 games to go, every game should be like a playoff game. That’s all I’m saying.”


And another thing

Torre rejected the notion that the players had to act lively -- or angrily -- within the clubhouse to show passion at a trying time.

“I don’t think there’s any prototypical passionate team where you’ll have guys hanging from lockers,” Torre said. “To me, this game is more about your determination than showing somebody what they think it should look like.”

Closer for hire


With Jonathan Broxton trying to tame a flaw in his delivery as he adjusts to the role of a closer, the Dodgers might be able to add a veteran closer for about $850,000 and a couple of prospects.

The Colorado Rockies have put Brian Fuentes on waivers, Fox Sports reported Tuesday. If all non-contenders pass on Fuentes, the Dodgers would have the first shot at claiming him and trying to work out a trade with the Rockies. Teams are not permitted to discuss waiver maneuvers.

Broxton has been scored upon in five of his last eight outings, with a 7.88 earned-run average in that stretch.

The Dodgers’ bullpen includes four pitchers -- veterans Jason Johnson, Chan Ho Park and Tanyon Sturtze and rookie Ramon Troncoso -- who were playing in the minor leagues or Japan at this time last year. Rookie Cory Wade is expected to be activated today.


Fuentes, a three-time All-Star eligible for free agency this fall, has converted 13 consecutive save opportunities and 26 of 30 overall. He has an ERA of 0.87 since July 1 and 1.69 overall.

Short hops

Second baseman Jeff Kent talked his way into the lineup after Torre did not include him originally. Kent, 40, has had one game off this month after no fewer than four games off in each of the first four months of the season. . . . Andruw Jones played first base again at triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday. . . . A Dodgers delegation is scheduled to visit wounded military personnel today at the Walter Reed Medical Center.