© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

08/01/10 6:54 PM ET

Dodgers skipper has faith in Broxton

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre issued a vote of confidence for All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton after they met Sunday.

"I'm not bypassing Jonathan at this point in time," Torre said. "He needs from us to have confidence that we're here for him. He needs to get his personality back."

The meeting came one day after Broxton gave up a game-losing home run to Pat Burrell, only hours after the team acquired Pittsburgh closer Octavio Dotel.

Torre said he was satisfied Broxton is healthy, despite decreased fastball velocity. Instead, Torre suggested that Broxton is suffering from the same problem that plagued Chad Billingsley earlier in the year -- thinking too much instead of just trusting his stuff and firing.

"We talked today. I asked about him physically and he said he's fine," said Torre. "I talked to him about Billingsley trying to throw strikes. That's not something a closer is supposed to do. I was relieved to get the answer I did. He needs to just get a good one under his belt and get his swagger back."

Although the Burrell home run came on a 96-mph fastball, it came on the sixth pitch of the at-bat. Earlier fastballs ranged from 92-94 mph. Torre said Broxton's fastball was "exploding" in the bullpen, but he was "very tentative" in the game.

"The ball that was hit was 96, but he already had shown the guy five pitches," said Torre. "Burrell is a veteran and got into a rhythm. Brox was guiding the ball."

Broxton has been scored upon in four of his last six outings, his ERA rising from 1.93 to 3.12. July was the first month he hasn't averaged at least one strikeout per inning pitched since July 2008.

Furcal excited for first shot batting third

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rafael Furcal had extra energy Sunday.

"Check the lineup," he urged reporters and teammates. "Check the lineup."

There was his name in the No. 3 spot.

"I'm the only three-hitter that can bunt," said Furcal.

With new second baseman Ryan Theriot on board and resident No. 3 hitter Andre Ethier still home after the birth of his second child, manager Joe Torre had newcomers Scott Podsednik and Theriot in the top two spots and dropped Furcal into the third spot for the first start of his career there.

"I just wanted to make sure he knew we didn't expect him to all of a sudden carry the team on his back," said Torre. "The fact that we're having trouble scoring runs, I'm trying to put some speed and contact at the top of the lineup. It's a temporary thing. We're going to get Ethier back."

Xavier Paul started in right field for Ethier.

Torre also said that injured outfielder Reed Johnson left to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire. Johnson has been on the disabled list since July 9 with back spasms.

Manny getting close to rehab assignment

SAN FRANCISCO -- Injured outfielder Manny Ramirez, who remained a Dodger despite a series of inquiries from teams before Saturday's Trade Deadline, is nearing a Minor League rehab assignment, athletic trainer Stan Conte said Sunday.

Ramirez has been out since July 17 with his second strained calf muscle, his third trip to the disabled list this year. Conte said Ramirez continues to work out at the club's Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex in Arizona and will be in Los Angeles on Tuesday or Wednesday to be re-evaluated.

"He's hitting, he's running, he's throwing," said Conte. "He's taking live batting practice, taking fly balls. He's sprinting at about 60 to 70 percent intensity. Tomorrow we'll see how hard he's running and determine when he can play in rehab games."

Meanwhile, outfielder Andre Ethier missed his second game Sunday after flying home for the birth of his second child, a boy. He is expected back in the lineup Monday night against San Diego.

Schlichting demoted to make room for Dotel

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers cleared the one roster spot they needed after their Saturday flurry of acquisitions by optioning reliever Travis Schlichting to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Schlichting was in his third stint with the Dodgers this year and has been effective, with a 2.86 ERA in 13 games. But he essentially was squeezed out of a spot by the arrival of former Pittsburgh closer Octavio Dotel.

Roster spots for newcomers Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot were created by trading away pitcher James McDonald and second baseman Blake DeWitt.

Dotel will wear uniform No. 26, Theriot No. 13 and Lilly No. 29.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.