LOS ANGELES Joe Torre grew up in Brooklyn rooting against the Dodgers. Now, a half-century after they moved west, he's their manager.
Torre was hired by Los Angeles to succeed Grady Little on Thursday, taking the job two weeks after walking away from the New York Yankees.
"Joe Torre comes with a great resume," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said on a conference call. "What he's done the last 12 years is as powerful as any manager in recent memory."
The winningest manager in postseason history, Torre moved from one storied franchise to another, agreeing to a three-year, $13 million contract. He becomes the Dodgers' eighth manager since they left his hometown, where he rooted for the rival New York Giants.
"As a kid growing up, you didn't like them," Torre said on WFAN radio in New York before the hiring was announced. "As a player, to me the Dodgers were the Yankees of the National League because ... you either loved them or you hated them."
The 67-year-old Torre will be introduced at a news conference Monday at Dodger Stadium. Little resigned Tuesday after completing two seasons of a three-year deal.
Torre joins the Dodgers for their 50th anniversary season in Los Angeles, hoping to spur October success.
Favored to win the NL West this year, the Dodgers finished fourth. They have only one playoff victory since winning the 1988 World Series under Tom Lasorda.
"I'm so happy for him. I think his record speaks for itself," said Lasorda, a special adviser to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. "I think what he accomplished with the Yankees, he should have been able to control his destiny."We're happy that he's here very happy."
THE NEW JOE ARRIVES: Joe Girardi stepped to the podium, put on his new pinstriped jersey and showed off a most appropriate number 27. As in, now it's his job to lead the New York Yankees to their 27th World Series championship. "How many do they have?" the new manager said Thursday, knowing full well the answer. In fact, that's precisely why he picked the number. Girardi's name and picture were displayed on the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium for his introductory news conference. The team did its best to make him feel welcome, with general manager Brian Cashman presenting Girardi's wife, Kim, with a bouquet of roses. "This is where we wanted to end up," Girardi said.
ZUMAYA HAS SURGERY: With the California wildfires closing in on his parents' house, Joel Zumaya went up to the attic and tried to salvage a few things for his father. Moments later, his 2008 season was in jeopardy. A heavy box fell on top of the Detroit Tigers reliever, injuring his pitching shoulder and forcing him to have major surgery Wednesday in San Diego. He is expected to be sidelined until midseason.
MUD HENS PURSUE A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez a Mud Hen? Spurred by an offhand remark from George Steinbrenner's son, the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens want in on the A-Rod sweepstakes. The Mud Hens playfully offered the prize free agent a deal Thursday a contract proposal that includes a bonus for hitting 75 home runs next year and leading them to 10 straight International League titles. The deal stipulates that Rodriguez will have to compete for a spot with Toledo third basemen Mike Hessman, the league's most valuable player last season. "Would your client be willing to play a different position?" the letter asked.
ORIOLES CUT BENSON: The Baltimore Orioles cut ties with Kris Benson on Thursday, declining their $7.5 million option on the right-hander and making him eligible to become a free agent. Benson, who missed the 2007 season with a torn labrum, receives a $500,000 buyout. He made 30 starts for the Orioles in 2006, going 11-12 with a 4.82 ERA, after being acquired from the New York Mets.
GIANTS HIRE LANSFORD: Former AL batting champion Carney Lansford was hired Thursday to become the San Francisco Giants' new hitting coach. Lansford, a five-time All-Star who won the batting title in 1981, received a two-year contract to replace Joe Lefebvre on manager Bruce Bochy's staff.
COACH EXTENDS: Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension. Jaramillo, widely considered one of the best hitting coaches in the majors, has spent the last 13 seasons with the Rangers. Jaramillo is the only coach in team history to serve more than eight years on the major league staff.