Torre 'wouldn't be surprised' by a deal
Dodgers looking to trade for pitching, middle-infield help
LOS ANGELES -- Nomar Garciaparra continued to take batting and fielding practice on his tender left knee Wednesday, while manager Joe Torre again hinted that general manager Ned Colletti will be active leading up to Thursday afternoon's Trade Deadline.
"I wouldn't be surprised," Torre said when asked if he expected a deal to take place. "I'm not saying 100 percent or 90 percent. Ned's been on the phone. It looks like this year is one of the most active in recent years."
The Dodgers are seeking a pitcher and middle infielder, the latter in part because of Garciaparra's brittle history in general and his sprained knee in particular.
Torre said the club had planned to promote Chin-lung Hu from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, but Garciaparra wanted a few days to see if he could heal.
"He said there's no difference today, he feels pretty good," said Torre. "He wasn't very good taking ground balls [Tuesday]. I'm sure he can come off the bench [for pinch-hitting]; the only thing is he'll take another player [to replace him on base or defense]. We'll look to the weekend at the earliest [for a return to the lineup]. If it looks beyond that, we'll weigh all the options. We'll have to see some kind of improvement so he can play the field."
However, other options are being weighed anyway with Thursday's deadline. Among infielders that might draw interest are former Dodger Mark Grudzielanek and the Astros' Mark Loretta. Torre always talks about adding pitching, and the most obvious candidate is San Diego starter Greg Maddux, who was acquired by Colletti two years ago.
Adding Maddux would give the Dodgers rotation depth with Brad Penny still not back, rookie Clayton Kershaw unproven in the heat of a race and veteran/rookie Hiroki Kuroda in a slump.
Kuroda had his regular bullpen session with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on Wednesday, with the emphasis on extending at the finish of breaking balls.
"He's gone out and had knockout stuff, but now he's not where he wants to be," Torre said of Kuroda, who has a 13.11 ERA in the second half. "He can't get the feel for his breaking ball. Knowing he's having trouble, he's never throwing with conviction to finish it off."
Penny had a bullpen session in preparation for his Minor League rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Las Vegas at Oklahoma City. His shoulder tendinitis apparently is healed after six weeks on the disabled list.
Torre sounded skeptical about the annual rumor that the Dodgers would acquire Manny Ramirez, saying "it doesn't make sense to me" that Boston would want to trade him. "He's ingrained as a Red Sox. Having to compete against him, he's part of the furniture over there."
Torre also shed some light on why the Dodgers in recent years have not been serious players in blockbuster trades that would require them to deal away their best young players in return for a veteran, as the Angels did Tuesday in acquiring Mark Teixeira.
"When you have young players, even if with the player you can get, you may not want to give up a young player who isn't as good as he's going to be," said Torre. "Those are the ground rules. Matt Kemp is good now and in a couple years he'll be special. Kemp may be better than the guy you're going to get, and that guy probably is making a ton of money. That's just good business sense there."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.