Dodgers Not Missing A Beat Print E-mail
Written by Fred Mitchell   
Saturday, 30 May 2009
The Los Angeles Dodgers have proven that there is life without one of the game's biggest sluggers- Manny Ramirez.
Serving a 50-game suspension for the use of a banned performance-enhancing substance, Ramirez is a member of the 500 Home Run Club with 533. He is fourth in home runs among the active sluggers.
 
Still, the Dodgers entered this week with the best record in baseball.
 

“I didn’t learn anything (about the Dodgers) I didn’t know before he was out,” said Los Angeles manager Joe Torre. “I sensed in spring training that this ballclub was having a lot of fun. They had a whole different personality. No question, the way we finished up last year by beating the Cubs (in the NL playoffs)….the best club in the National League…that did a lot for our confidence and our self esteem."

Torre pointed to the performances of less heralded players who have picked up the slack while Ramirez serves his punishment. 

“The additions of Mark Loretta and Brad Ausmus have been huge. Besides their ability to come off the bench and their personality in the clubhouse and their professionalism...they have sort of helped to keep this club together pretty well,” he said.

Ramirez was batting .348 with 20 RBIs when he was suspended. Perhaps more significantly, his carefree attitude helped his teammates learn how to relax.

“Manny has been great,” said Torre. “Manny showed these guys last year how to have fun and play the game of baseball a the same time. And I think it kind of rubbed off. I think everything is going to be judged on what the results are. We have the young players who are growing. My catcher (Russell Martin) is a completely different player than he was last year. He is probably closer to what he was a couple of years ago. You have James Loney and Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp who have come a long way. Kemp is not beating himself up over bad at-bats now. He is helping us on a more consistent basis.”






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