Ramirez sinks in All-Star voting


Manny Ramirez’s All-Star candidacy was dealt a severe blow Monday as the number of votes separating him from a starting role in St. Louis on July 14 increased by almost 100,000 in the latest balloting update.

Ramirez remained in fifth place among National League outfielders with 858,353 votes, leaving him 234,163 behind New York’s Carlos Beltran, who is in third place. Ramirez was 139,789 votes out of third place a week ago.

In-stadium balloting ends on June 28. Fans can vote online at until July 2.

Ramirez, who is serving a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy, recently received the support of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel, who said they had no problems with him playing in the All-Star game if he is selected by fans.


Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said he didn’t want to see Ramirez in the game, citing the number of games he has missed.

Of Ramirez’s teammates, only second baseman Orlando Hudson ranks in the top five in voting at his position. Hudson is in second place but trails leader Chase Utley of the Phillies by more than 1 million votes.


Never enough pitching

One question that keeps surfacing is whether the Dodgers need to acquire another starting pitcher, perhaps a veteran, to bolster their chances of making the postseason.

“You could be asking that question of any manager in the big leagues,” quipped Torre.

While remaining non-committal, Torre said that “if there’s that pitcher available” that the Dodgers discover they can use, “you’re not going to know that for another month, probably,” until the trade deadlines approach.

The Dodgers’ rotation includes right-handers Hiroki Kuroda -- who recently returned after missing nearly two months with a muscle injury in his side -- and Chad Billingsley, along with left-handers Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw.

The fifth starter had been left-hander Eric Stults, but he’s on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained thumb. Eric Milton, another left-hander, briefly took his place but now he’s on the disabled list with tightness in his back.


The pitching staff up to this point has been among the best in baseball and, when asked if the pitchers currently in the organization could take the Dodgers to the playoffs, Torre said, “you hope they can.”

But he added that “pitching is probably the area where you need the most depth because something is going to happen that you don’t want to have happen.”

“We lost Kuroda after Game 1 and we’ve obviously held it together without him, but you can never have too much on the pitching side,” Torre said, noting that “if a pitcher gets hurt, with the way the rehab is and pitchers can’t ply their trade every day, it takes a long time to get them back.”





When: 7.

Where: Dodger Stadium.

On the air: TV: Channel 9; Radio: 790, 930;

Pitchers: Chad Billingsley vs. Chris Young; Wednesday, 7 -- Clayton Kershaw (3-4, 4.26) vs. to be announced.

Update: Billingsley struck out nine over six scoreless innings to beat Arizona on Wednesday and end his two-start losing streak. Billingsley is 7-3 with a 2.44 earned-run average in 15 career games against the Padres. Young held opponents to four runs in 12 innings over his last two starts. But he was saddled with losses in both outings. Young is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in six road starts.


-- Dylan Hernandez