Manager Joe Torre went down the road that was paved by St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa on Wednesday, prompting Eric Stults to do a double-take when he walked by the lineup posted in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
Juan Pierre was batting ninth.
Stults was eighth.
“I’ve been threatening it, right?” Manager Joe Torre said. “It just seemed like a situation, with a player like Juan, he’d be freer to steal and stuff with [Rafael] Furcal hitting behind him instead of the pitcher. . . . To me, it makes sense with a guy with speed. . . . I just don’t want to take away some of his tools from him.”
Torre said he considered batting Pierre eighth when he started Sunday in Colorado.
The manager made it a point to speak about the assignment to Pierre, who started in center field in place of Matt Kemp.
“The last thing I wanted to do was embarrass anybody,” Torre said.
Pierre said he had no problem with the alignment, joking that he would bat 11th if that’s what it took for him to crack the lineup.
Torre said that an added benefit of batting Pierre ninth is that it increases the chances of Manny Ramirez hitting with men on base.
The last time a Dodgers pitcher didn’t bat ninth was Aug. 15, 1965, when Don Drysdale hit seventh in a 4-2 loss against Pittsburgh. Catcher John Roseboro hit eighth that day and shortstop John Kennedy batted ninth.
The only two times Pierre batted ninth was in 2001 in interleague games he played with the Colorado Rockies.
If James McDonald is unsure of himself, he’s not showing it.
The Dodgers’ 24-year-old rookie has posted a 7.71 earned-run average over his first three major league starts, but said it hasn’t made him wary of climbing back on the mound.
“I’m not pleased with what I’ve done,” he said. “I want to keep getting out there. It makes me want to compete.”
McDonald says he knows what the problem is: He’s walking too many batters. In his first three starts of the season, he has walked 10 batters over 11 2/3 innings and posted a 7.71 earned-run average. He has yet to pitch past the fifth inning.
Command has never been a problem for McDonald, who walked 51 batters in 140 innings between double A and triple A last season.
“I’m beating myself a lot of times,” McDonald said. “I just have to attack the zone, be more aggressive.”
Manny: table setter
Ramirez laughed about his role in the aftermath of the 5-3 victory over the Giants on Tuesday night.
Ramirez had three doubles, including one in the ninth inning that led to him scoring the go-ahead run on a double by Andre Ethier.
“I’m a double maniac,” Ramirez said. “I set the table now.”
Ohman’s big night
Always one to crack a self-deprecating line in the wake of a failure, left-hander Will Ohman was awfully quiet when asked about the save he picked up Tuesday night.
“Got to stay humble,” he said.
It was the first three-out save in Ohman’s career, which spans eight seasons. He has saved only two other games, both of them one-out saves.
“There’s our new stopper,” Ramirez said, looking over at Ohman’s locker.
Also . . .
Right-hander Cory Wade (shoulder) is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list today.