Joe Torre on being done in 2011: "I've lied before so it doesn't matter"

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That’s what he said immediately after saying yesterday that 2011 would be his last year. I like it when baseball people allow themselves to be honest like that.  The L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin spoke with Torre on a bunch of other topics as well:

  • He expects that Manny Ramirez will be back as “a middle-of-the-lineup guy” this year and thinks that his post-suspension struggles were all about mechanics and rust as opposed to human chorionic gonadotropin withdrawal or something.
  • He reminds us that Clayton Kershaw is only 21 and that “We can’t all of a sudden hook our wagon to him and say, ‘Take us there.'”  He expects the Dodgers to get another pitcher.  For what it’s worth, L.A. has been linked with Joel Piniero, may be watching Ben Sheets on Tuesday and, of course, is probably going to bring back Vicente Padilla.
  • He doesn’t know why the Dodgers didn’t offer Randy Wolf arbitration and says “it just didn’t seem reasonable to me he would come back for a year.”  This kind of thing is always interesting. I mean, if you asked Torre “hey, do you think Ned Colletti screwed up in not offering Wolf arbitration,” he’d always say no, he trusts Ned and The Plan and blah, blah, blah. But his dead-on assessment that Wolf wouldn’t take a one year deal to stay in L.A. makes the decision dumb by definition. No, I don’t expect Torre to slam his boss, but still.

If he had any comments about the McCourt divorce they were presumably off the record.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.