ST. LOUIS -- Los Angeles Dodgers utility man Jamey Carroll, a right-handed hitter, was in the starting lineup at second base on Friday night against St. Louis Cardinals rookie left-hander Jaime Garcia, something manager Joe Torre said would be fairly standard procedure for the foreseeable future.
Torre said a straight left-right platoon between Carroll and promising youngster Blake DeWitt will still allow DeWitt to get most of the starts but also will allow Carroll, who began the day hitting .291, to get a decent amount of playing time.
"I guess we'll do that most of the time," Torre said. "I'm not saying we'll do it all the time, and I'm not going to pinch hit every time a righty or a lefty comes in. But as long as Jamey is doing the job he has done and we feel Blake will get a lot more playing time, then we'll do this."
DeWitt began the day hitting .270 overall, but he was hitting 58 points higher (.280) against right-handers than against lefties (.222). Carroll also was hitting much higher against righties (.302) than lefties (.260), but that can probably be chalked up to the fact he hasn't seen that many lefties. Carroll has more than twice as many at-bats against right-handers (129) than against lefties (50).
DeWitt won the everyday second base job in spring training, something he had to do to avoid beginning the season in the minor leagues because club officials felt he was at such a critical stage of his development that he needed to be starting every day at Triple-A rather than sitting on the bench in the majors.
Torre meets up with Musial
With his 70th birthday looming Sunday, Torre spent some time with someone much older before coming to the ballpark Friday. Torre stopped off at the home of Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who is 89.
"It was really heartwarming," said Torre, who developed a close friendship with Musial while managing the Cardinals in the early 1990s. "I try to see him every time I come to town. This time, I thought he seemed better than the last time I went over there. He certainly was very aware of our being here for a four-game series, stuff like that."
Torre and his family also had dinner Wednesday night with Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, who was a teammate of Torre's in St. Louis. Gibson is 74.
"That was a pleasure, because he is five years older than I am," Torre said.
Torre says he feels fine with his milestone approaching and still enjoys managing a baseball game. But he also said he has grown tired of certain parts of the job, especially the travel and the all-encompassing nature. He also said he wishes he could spend more time attending his daughter's high school softball practices and that he would like to one day attend Wimbledon, which takes place in the middle of the baseball season.
Torre reiterated, though, that he won't make a decision on whether he will retire or return for the 2011 season until sometime in September and that he hasn't spent enough time thinking about that to be leaning one way or another at this point.
Torre said that while it still hasn't been made official, there is very little chance right-hander James McDonald won't be called up to take over the fifth spot in the starting rotation and pitch Monday night against San Francisco. McDonald was scratched from his scheduled start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday night against Round Rock in anticipation of his assumed recall to the majors.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.