As the Dodgers closed this year’s interleague play Sunday with their game against the Seattle Mariners, Dodgers Manager Joe Torre reiterated that he could do without playing American League teams in the regular season.
“I’m not a big fan” of interleague play, Torre said. “It’s a novelty for the fans; I think we’re doing it for the fans. Which is fine.
“In certain cities, it works. I mean, we play the Angels, and, of course, Chicago with the White Sox and the Cubbies.”
Some Dodgers players said they don’t share Torre’s view.
“I enjoy interleague,” pitcher Jeff Weaver said. “It gives you a chance to see different ballclubs, different cities, gives you a challenge. It gives you a chance to see exactly how difficult the American League is.”
Weaver, who pitched for the Detroit Tigers and Torre’s New York Yankees, said he and other Dodgers pitchers get scouting reports and can watch video of the AL hitters they’ll face, but “there’s going to be some surprises. You still have to make adjustments on the fly.”
Indeed, Torre said “it’s very difficult when you’re managing against” AL teams “to really have a feel for who you want to pitch to, who you don’t want to pitch to, even though you have scouting reports.”
Did the Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr. make his last regular-season appearance at Dodger Stadium on Sunday?
Griffey, 39, began the game with 620 home runs, fifth on the all-time list, amid speculation that this might be his final season as a player in the big leagues.
But Griffey said, “I haven’t made any decision” about retiring “and won’t until the off-season, until we have time to decide what we want to do.”
Griffey mainly has been Seattle’s designated hitter, but played left field in the Dodgers series.
Griffey said he also has tried to be a teacher for the Mariners, “a guy the younger kids can talk to” about opposing pitchers, playing defense in different ballparks and overall strategy.
“They ask me questions, and I give them an honest answer,” he said.
And are the players ever intimidated about approaching a future Hall of Fame member?
“I make sure they’re not intimidated,” Griffey said. “I’m not unapproachable. I talk to everybody.”
With Manny Ramirez’s return scheduled Friday in San Diego, Torre was asked how long it would take the slugger to be comfortable playing again.
“That’s what we’re all going to find out, and I really haven’t had a lot of experience with this,” Torre said, referring to Ramirez’s 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy.
“It’s going to take him some time, just the physical aspect of playing every day, something that he’s not used to” since the suspension May 7, Torre said.
“I still think it’s going to be an anxious time for him. But everything seems to be going as well as can be expected, I guess.”
If pitcher Jason Schmidt continues to show he can make 100 pitches in an outing as part of his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery, the Dodgers will “look at some point, at maybe in the not-too-distant future, that he’ll be pitching here” with the big league team, Torre said. “But we’ve been teased before, so we’ve got to be careful.”