Torre brushes aside harsh criticism from Wells
Former pitcher calls manager 'a coward' for treatment in 1997
PHOENIX -- Retired pitcher David Wells called Joe Torre "a coward" for not personally telling the left-hander he wouldn't be pitching for the Yankees in the 1997 playoffs against the Indians, instead sending pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre to deliver the news.
Torre brushed off the criticism Friday.
"I don't even remember that," Torre said. "I feel badly David think he was picked on or not treated fairly. That was not our intent. When he could have left after '98, he chose to come back. It must not have been too bad. I saw David in New York [at Monday's tribute to George Steinbrenner]. We shook hands. I thought everything was OK."
Here's part of the transcript of Wells' Yahoo! interview podcast:
"I had Stottlemyre come up to me in '97 and tell me they were going to sit me out in the first round against Cleveland. I said, 'If you're going to sit me out the first round, you might as well just send me home.' That pissed me off because I won like 15, 16 games for them. [...] That's pretty degrading when you have your manager tell your pitching coach to tell you, 'Hey, you're going to sit out,' rather than telling you himself. That's what Joe Torre is to me, a coward.
"I don't like him at all. As a manager, I think he's terrible. He wasn't a fair manager. He didn't treat people the same. He definitely didn't treat me the same. [...] If he tells you anything else, he's a liar."
In the book Torre wrote with Tom Verducci, "The Yankee Years," he wrote:
"The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to."
Dodgers expected to bring back Gibbons
PHOENIX -- The Dodgers are expected to re-sign Jay Gibbons, whose resurrection after three years in baseball purgatory is one of the feel-good stories of the year.
But just in case, Gibbons said Japan is "an option."
There are indications that Japanese teams will show interest in Gibbons, who fits the power profile (five homers in 73 at-bats) that intrigues Japanese teams.
Of course, that power intrigues the Dodgers, too. Gibbons, Ted Lilly and Rod Barajas are expected to be three players the Dodgers try to re-sign before the window of exclusivity expires two weeks after the World Series ends.
"To me, if the Dodgers want me, it will be pretty easy," said Gibbons, who lives in Southern California. "It's been great playing at home, waking up with [my three] kids. It would be great to get it out of the way and not have to worry during the offseason what I'll be doing."
The 33-year-old Gibbons had one season of 28 home runs and one of 100 RBIs for the Orioles, but he dropped off every team's radar when his name came up in the Mitchell Report on performance enhancing drugs. He bounced from Milwaukee's Minor League system to Independent ball, then was signed and released by Florida in 2009.
Preparing to coach high school ball, he instead took the only offer he received -- a Triple-A job with the Dodgers' Albuquerque franchise -- and not even an invite to Major League camp. He tore up the Pacific Coast League and was promoted to the Dodgers on Aug. 8.
"I've played a lot more than I thought I would," Gibbons said. "Just to be on the club is great. It feels good to get into a regular routine. I've had to come a long way to get here. It's amazing."
Young talent finds spots in Torre's lineup card
PHOENIX -- Joe Torre said the kids would get to play in the two series with the D-backs, and that was the case Friday night.
Torre started former D-backs player Trent Oeltjen in center field for Matt Kemp, Russell Mitchell for third baseman Casey Blake and Chin-lung Hu for Rafael Furcal at shortstop. The Dodgers play the D-backs six times over the last nine games.
Torre said John Lindsey will start at first base on Saturday for James Loney.
"We'll see if Big John can get his first bomb," said Torre. "Mitchell, maybe he'll play in the outfield Sunday [against Arizona left-hander Joe Saunders]. He's an intriguing one. He has a little pop in his bat and he won't hurt you defensively."
Torre got Kemp into Friday's 3-1 victory late as a pinch-hitter and he finished the game in center field, extending his games-played streak to a Major League-high 196 games.
Top prospects to play in instructional league
PHOENIX -- Top Dodgers prospects not participating in the Arizona Fall League are likely to be found in one of the two Arizona Instructional Leagues.
There are two this year, with one being an advanced co-op arrangement. The Dodgers have 19 players on that roster:
Pitchers -- Josh Lindblum, Aaron Miller, Tim Sexton, Steve Smith, Cole St. Claire, Josh Wall, Chris Withrow.
Infielders -- Steven Caseres, Austin Gallagher, Dee Gordon, Pedro Guerrero, Christian Lara, Jamie Pedroza, Justin Sellers.
Outfielders -- Nick Buss, Ramon Jean, Kyle Russell, Alfredo Silverio, Scott VanSlyke.
The regular instructional league roster consists of 45 players, including this year's first-round pick, Zach Lee; the 2008 first-round pick, Ethan Martin; and the pitcher that everyone in the organization seems to be talking about lately, Rubby De La Rosa.
The Arizona Fall League is designed for players that could be Major Leaguers within the next year. The Dodgers participating in that include Ivan DeJesus Jr., Scott Elbert, Javy Guerra, Jon Link, Justin Miller, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands and Matt Wallach.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.