Joe Torre to wait on future choice

ATLANTA -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Saturday he won't announce whether he will return for a fourth season until after the team has been eliminated from both the National League West and wild-card races or has clinched a playoff berth.

"I think that is only fair," Torre said before Saturday night's game with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. "If this game takes total concentration, then I don't want to put myself ahead of that."

Torre was engaged in talks with club officials as far back as last winter and the initial days of spring training about a one-year contract extension, but when that didn't yield an immediate agreement, Torre put those talks on hold because he didn't want to create a distraction, for either himself or the team.

Torre said he hasn't really given the matter much serious thought since then.

"My wife and I have talked about it some, but I haven't really spent a lot of time on it," he said. "Hopefully, the invitation will still be there from the ballclub. I have to let them know, but I'm certainly not losing any sleep over it. That is something that is going to come to me. I'll make a decision, and that will be it."

Torre is in the final season of a three-year, $13 million contract, and he turned 70 a month ago. He has spoken before of possibly remaining with the club after his retirement in a front-office capacity, perhaps as a consultant of some kind, and he said Saturday he still would be interested in such a role.

"I don't know how much I want to do, but I still want to be involved with baseball," Torre said. "That is the only security I have of knowing what I'm doing."

Although no one in the organization has ever said it definitively, general manager Ned Colletti has acknowledged several times over the past three years he would like to create continuity within the organization and that as such, hitting coach Don Mattingly would warrant strong consideration as Torre's successor. Tim Wallach, the Dodgers' Triple-A manager at Albuquerque, also would be a logical candidate.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.