Manny Ramirez goes on disabled list again

The Dodgers' shopping list ahead of the July 31 trade deadline might have grown Tuesday when Manny Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the third time this season.

Ramirez, plagued with a right calf strain, could be on the DL for "about three weeks," which means "you may all of a sudden be in the market for more" players than initially planned, Manager Joe Torre said. But General Manager Ned Colletti said the team's immediate priority remained pitching.

The loss of Ramirez, 38, was a "big disappointment" because he suffered the injury last Friday in only his second game after returning from the DL with a strained right hamstring, Torre said.

An MRI exam on Tuesday showed it was "a significant strain" and "that's why it wouldn't go away," Torre said, adding that he spoke with Ramirez on Tuesday and "I just said, 'At some point I'll get you back.'"

Although Torre said Xavier Paul was expected to be Ramirez's main replacement in left field for now, Torre was asked whether the team might call up an outfielder, especially because reserve outfielder Reed Johnson also is on the DL. "That's what we're talking about now," Torre said.

In the meantime, the Dodgers reinstated veteran catcher Brad Ausmus from the 60-day DL. Ausmus, 41, had back surgery in April.

Torre's future

Lou Piniella's announcement that he plans to retire as the Chicago Cubs' manager after this season led reporters to ask Torre whether the Cubs' job might appeal to him.

Torre, who tabled contract-extension talks with the Dodgers in the spring, would not say categorically that he would not be interested in the Cubs job.

"I'm not saying anything other than I'm not sure what I'm going to do," he said.

He also would not say he would manage the Dodgers next season — if he manages at all. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do," Torre said. "Just leave it at that."

He joked that the losing streak that knocked the Dodgers into fourth place in the National League West could make the question of whether he wants to return moot.

"If we keep losing, it may not be my choice," Torre said.

Torre said he spoke to Piniella when the Cubs were at Dodger Stadium earlier this month — the managers have faced each other more than 175 times in their careers — and "he sort of hinted at" retirement. "Lou is an emotional guy and I know he's been frustrated" with the team's performance, Torre said.

"I know he means it," Torre said of Piniella's decision. But Torre added: "I'm not necessarily sold on it. He's passionate about what he does."

Short hops

Asked if pitcher James McDonald would get another chance as the team's fifth starter, Torre replied, "We haven't made that decision yet." McDonald was called up from the minor leagues to start in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the Giants on Monday .

Entering Tuesday's game, shortstop Rafael Furcal's .338 batting average led the NL and Andre Ethier's .314 was fourth, which was why the Dodgers' team average of .267 was second only to Cincinnati's .271 in the NL.

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