Torre still talking about Yankees

Posted by ESPN's Colleen Dominguez

LOS ANGELES -- Even in his second season as the Dodgers manager, Joe Torre still answers plenty of questions about the Yankees, and Wednesday was no different -- from saying Alex Rodriguez is getting "beaten up," to offering his take on Yankee fans chanting his name Tuesday in the Bronx.

I asked him what he thought about the "We Want Torre" chant in the ninth inning as New York lost the last of a two-game set against the Red Sox. The Yankees are now 0-5 against Boston. He smiled and said, "Those fans are impatient. I was there 12 years, and at the end, they weren't happy with me."

Torre said Joe Girardi, whose team lost to Tampa Bay Wednesday night for its fourth straight defeat to fall to 13-14, is a good manager.

"He's a tough kid, an intelligent kid," Torre said. "He'll be fine." But Torre added pro athletes, managers and coaches had better have thick skin if they want to survive there, something he learned in his last few years in New York.

I brought up Rodriguez's imminent return to the Yankees lineup -- some reports have his first day back from hip surgery earmarked for Friday in Baltimore -- and asked Torre how he thought Rodriguez would be received by fans on the heels of the turbulent last few months, when Rodriguez admitted to using steroids and has been the subject of a controversial book released Monday that alleges more improprieties.

Torre said he wasn't sure how Rodriguez would be received but thought, since the team was struggling at this point, that the fans might welcome him. Torre said New Yorkers have a way of lifting someone up, dusting them off and offering support, adding that they did that with Jason Giambi. Torre said twice that he thought Rodriguez was "getting beaten up" but also thinks whatever happens when Rodriguez gets back to New York, he'll handle it.

Elsewhere, with his single in the top of the first, the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman extended his consecutive game hit streak to 24, tops in the majors. When I asked Zimmerman before the game about the streak, he said that he hadn't paid much attention to it, but now he admits that the superstition is setting in, and he's not talking about it as much. He also said that he's got new-found respect for the hitting streak record of 56 straight games set by Joe DiMaggio in 1941, saying he's not even half way there and can't imagine how difficult it would be to reach it.

Colleen Dominguez is an ESPN bureau reporter based in Los Angeles.