Joe Torre Pregame Notes - July 19

Here is a recap from Joe Torre's meeting with the media before today's series finale with Houston:

There is no sign yet of Jason Schmidt, but he is believed to be en route.

If Schmidt wasn't deemed ready to pitch tomorrow, the club would have decided between Eric Stults or Jeff Weaver for Monday night, meaning Stults would have been held out of Friday's start with Albuquerque.

Hong-Chih Kuo is close to being activated, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.  Torre is scheduled to meet with Ned Colletti later today, for the second straight day, to discuss possible roster moves.  No decision has yet been made on the corresponding 25-man roster move for Schmidt.

Someone asked if Blake DeWitt had frequent flyer miles, and Torre praised Blake for being very resilient, noting that he hasn't taken any of his four (and counting) demotions this season personally.

Every relief pitcher, including Broxton, is available to pitch today.

In the clubhouse, Manny was trying to convince Rafael Furcal that he wasn't starting at shortstop today, even though the lineup had already been posted.

There is nothing physically wrong with Chad Billingsley right now, according to Torre and the training staff.  Torre noted Billingsley is fighting some mechanical flaws in his delivery, and that he is "thinking too much" about his delivery rather than trusting himself, and that has affected his command.

In last night's game, after Manny Ramirez flew out for the first out of the 8th inning, Torre told Manny that was it, and that he would come out after that.  However, James Loney, ever the optimist, noted, "unless we bat around this inning."  Torre, laughing, called Loney, "the fly on the wall."

Someone brought up Nolan Ryan's plan in Texas to have his pitchers throw more innings, pitch count be damned, and Torre noted the program might have some merit, but that it would need to be implemented throughout the minor leagues first in order to be effective.  Its hard to ask a pitcher who has been limited throughout his minor league career to all of a sudden throw deep into games at the major league level.

Torre mentioned the importance of monitoring Clayton Kershaw's workload, noting that anything saved now could be used in October.  There is a good chance Kershaw may have a start skipped as the schedule allows, but nothing has been planned for the immediate future.

Noting Schmidt's two-year-plus absence from baseball, Torre remembered when he missed about a month in 1968 after being hit in the face by a pitch from Chuck Hartenstein in a game against the Cubs.  Hank Aaron was on first base, trying to steal, and as Torre tried to sneak a peak back at the catcher and didn't pick up the pitch in time before it hit him.  The pitch broke his palate, and Torre said the toughest part was staying in bed for a long period of time.

It is quite hot today at the Stadium, and I am insanely jealous of ESPN 710's Beto Duran ("What the fruit?") because he showed up wearing shorts, while yours truly and pretty much every other man here are dressed in long pants.

The entire video for "Who Let The Dogs Out" was just played on DodgerVision.

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