Berroa making a major comeback

Times Staff Writer

Angel Berroa said the way he has felt over the last week reminds him of when was the American League’s rookie of the year in 2003.

“I’ve got my confidence back,” said Berroa, who spent most of the last two years with the Kansas City Royals’ triple-A affiliate in Omaha traveling on commercial planes and sleeping in cramped motel rooms.

Berroa started again at shortstop Friday, as Manager Joe Torre decided to play him instead of Nomar Garciaparra for the sixth consecutive game. Berroa was seven for 18 (.389) with one home run and three runs batted in during that span.


He doubled in his first at-bat Friday and scored to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

“Even when I wasn’t playing much, I knew I could play defense,” he said. “The problem was my hitting. Now that I’m playing, I’m starting to feel comfortable.”

Berroa says he’s enjoying his time in Los Angeles and would consider re-signing with the Dodgers if they offered him a contract at the end of the season.

“I like the city, I like the team,” he said.

Almost an Angel?

David Eckstein admitted he became excited when he heard rumors last month that he could be traded to the Angels.

“I enjoyed playing there,” Eckstein said. “I loved the four years I was there.”

The Toronto Blue Jays instead sent Eckstein to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a waiver deal.


Eckstein started his fourth game at second base for the Diamondbacks on Friday. Primarily a shortstop over his eight major league seasons, Eckstein made the move for second after the All-Star break while still playing for Toronto. Until then, Eckstein hadn’t played second since he was with the Angels in 2001.

A free agent this winter, Eckstein said he hasn’t looked beyond this season, though he acknowledged that a move back to Southern California would be convenient.

His wife, Ashley, is an actress who did the voice of one of the characters in the animated “Star Wars” movie that was released last month and the couple rents a house in Westwood.

More Manny?

Torre says he wants Manny Ramirez to be back with the Dodgers next season -- “but,” he added, “only if he seems to be as happy as he seems to be.”

While the Dodgers were taking batting practice, Torre spoke with Ramirez’s agent, Scott Boras. Torre refused to say what their conversation was about, but Boras said, “He wanted to make sure Manny was comfortable here and I told him Manny enjoys living in the L.A. area.”

Boras said they also talked about Greg Maddux, another Boras client acquired by the Dodgers in a trade.

Ramirez remained non-committal about his future, saying, “We’ll see what happens. We’ll explore my options.”

Short hops

Infielder Pablo Ozuna is back on the active roster, as the Dodgers made room for him on the 40-man roster by moving minor league pitcher Mario Alvarez to the 60-day disabled list. Ozuna was designated for assignment on Aug. 27. . . . Jeff Kent spent time in the weight room on Friday and is planning to travel with the Dodgers on their upcoming 10-game trip. . . . Closer Takashi Saito will pitch in a simulated game today or Sunday. Torre said he is hoping Saito could be available by next weekend. . . . Infielder Tony Abreu, who spent the year recovering from hip surgery, will report to the Arizona Instructional League next week. . . . Juan Pierre said he was recovered from a tight back that forced him to make a premature exit from Tuesday’s game.