Torre returning to manage USA team at WBC
It was a conference call to announce that Joe Torre will manage Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, but it quickly turned into classic Torre. Now the executive vice president for baseball operations for Major League Baseball, Torre showed he hadn't lost any of the poise and ease that served him during his 29 years as a big league manager.
He defused a question about any lingering animosity between himself and Alex Rodriguez and whether he would have a problem picking the third baseman for Team USA.
"I don't think there's any issue with the two of us," said Torre, who once batted Rodriguez eighth in a playoff game and made critical comments about him in his book, "The Yankee Years."
"So if that situation presented itself and I felt like I wanted to go that way, I certainly wouldn't hesitate in asking. And I hope he wouldn't have any hesitation in accepting."
He heaped praise on Derek Jeter.
"Obviously, Derek is special," Torre said. "Everything he does he only does one way, and that's to go out there and do everything he can to win the ballgame."
But mostly Torre, who will turn 72 next month, spoke about the honor of managing Team USA in the third edition of the WBC. "I haven't put on the uniform yet, but it's certainly going to make a difference when you have USA on there," he said.
The tournament begins with qualifiers in September and November, with the U.S. team starting up next March.
Before the inaugural WBC, Torre expressed concern about the significant time players would miss during spring training.
Said Torre: "My job is to make sure I can assure the manager and the general manager that we'll take care of their players."