MILWAUKEE - Joe Torre called it a "crazy'' year, but he wasn't complaining. "I mean a good crazy,'' the former Yankees manager said Friday.
Torre learned in December that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. On Thursday, word came that the Yankees will retire his No. 6 and give him a plaque in Monument Park this summer.
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"It's pretty special,'' said Torre, already in town to be honored by the Milwaukee Athletic Club for his career with the Milwaukee Braves. "It would always be special when you get honored by a particular team, but when it's the Yankees, you realize what their history is and you know you only have so many numbers to choose from.''
Torre recalled joining the Yankees as manager in 1996 and wanting "a single digit.''
"No. 6, I had worn 9 and I had worn 15, so you flip the six or add it to nine and it's 15 -- who knows,'' Torre said. "Who could have ever dreamed at that point, in '95 or '96, this would be the result? And it's been -- it's just been awesome to me.''
And who could have dreamed it after 2007, when Torre and the Yankees had an ugly divorce? It began to get patched up when George Steinbrenner died in July 2010 and the club invited Torre back for the dedication of The Boss' Monument Park plaque in September.
"I think it was both our faults when we split after the '07 season,'' said Torre, who later said he plans to be at Fenway Park in September for the final regular-season games of Derek Jeter's career. "I don't think, and I said this before, either one of us knew how to say goodbye.''
As for his current job as MLB's vice president of baseball operations, Torre said he is well aware of the blowup between Joe Girardi and plate umpire Laz Diaz on Monday night in Anaheim.
"Joe was pretty animated, but Laz has to take on a certain amount of responsibility too,'' said Torre, who was at the game.
Girardi felt Diaz "instigated'' things, both with him and reliever Shawn Kelley.
"He certainly has to take his share of the blame,'' Torre said of Diaz. "But Laz is a good guy. Sometimes he does things not thinking that they're going to be perceived the way they're perceived. He's a little too friendly at times, but not with any malice intended. But I think he certainly contributed to what took place.''
Torre said he encourages managers and umpires who have had heated exchanges to talk things out over the phone a few days later.
When asked about that before Friday night's game, Girardi said with a smile, "I'm not going to talk about what I'm going to do or not. I did enough talking that day.''
Sabathia back in town. CC Sabathia, who starts Saturday night, pitched the Brewers into the 2008 playoffs, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts after getting traded by the Indians. "I felt like every time I went out when I was here, I felt like I was going to win the game,'' he said. "As a pitcher, you kind of have some doubts what's going to happen in a game, but I didn't have any doubts in any [game] here.'' Lately he's been struggling. "My bullpens have been good. I think we're on the right track,'' said Sabathia, 3-4 with a 5.75 ERA. "Everybody's making a big deal out of my last game, and it was bad, obviously, [but] I'm not as panicked as everybody else is.''