Rumors Flying Around Like Red Sox Hits

Tony Jackson, of the Los Angeles Daily News, reports that there is no indication the Dodgers are attempting to sign Joe Girardi as manager, but they may be talking about using him in another position with the organization. And rumors have the Dodgers playing exhibition games in China and Japan, as well as the L.A. Coliseum. And Seattle snapped up Dave Wallace as minor league pitching coordinator.

    ESPN.com had reported that Girardi, one of three candidates for the New York Yankees' managerial opening, "could have a developing opportunity with the ... Dodgers." Colletti said during the season's final week that Little will return in 2008, and owner Frank McCourt reiterated on the season's final day that both Colletti and Little will be back.

Girardi was fired a year ago despite being named National League Manager of the Year in his only season at the Marlins' helm. He has been available all season and it doesn't make sense that they wouldn't begin their pursuit until now.

"Grady Little is our manager," said Camille Johnston, the Dodgers' senior vice president for communications, who emphasized that she had no knowledge of the situation.

The Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in former Yankees manager Joe Torre, who spurned a one-year, $5 million offer to remain with the Yankees. The Dodgers, who are believed to be paying Little between $600,000-$650,000 a year on a contract that runs through next season and carries a club option for 2009, certainly aren't going to pay a manager anything approaching that figure.

Oriental Express?-- Major League Baseball is moving forward on playing Spring Training games this coming March in Beijing, the home of the 2008 Olympics, and the season opener in Japan a week later.

A pair of exhibition games at the Olympic venue in China are tentatively slated for the weekend of March 14-15, with the season-opening two-game series at Tokyo Dome on March 22-23. Different pairs of teams will compete in the two series, said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, before Wednesday night's Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park.

Two industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Thursday that if a proposed two-game exhibition series March 14-15 in Beijing, China, actually takes place, the Dodgers will be one of the clubs involved.

"There's still logistics to be worked out, so nothing is definite yet," DuPuy said. "We should have something to announce by the next owners' meetings." The owners gather for their final quarterly meetings of the year on Nov. 14-15 in Florida.

When told via e-mail that there was a possibility that his team could play over there, John Moores, the Padres' majority owner, responded: "That is what I expect."

The Dodgers, who have a rich history playing in China and Japan when the O'Malley family owned the team, is their chief rival in the National League West and a natural opponent. But the Dodgers March schedule is packed, considering that it's their final Spring Training in Vero Beach, and that several games in the annual preseason Freeway Series against the Angels may be staged at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Back to the Future?-- Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and they played from 1958-61 at the Coliseum prior to the unveiling of Dodger Stadium.

BP Johnston confirmed a widespread report that the club is considering moving a home game to the Coliseum next season as part of its year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers' move from Brooklyn. "We're in the process of seeing if we can pull this off," Dodgers spokeswoman Camille Johnston said.

What Johnston didn't say is that it would have to be a late-spring exhibition because Major League Baseball would never approve a regular-season game in a stadium that doesn't come close to meeting the league's standard field dimensions.

The Dodgers played at the Coliseum from 1958-61 while Dodger Stadium was under construction. Because the left-field foul pole was just 250 feet away, a 42-foot screen had to be installed to cut down on cheap home runs.

The Dodgers and Angels cut the annual Freeway Series exhibition slate from three games to one next spring, leaving the Dodgers with open dates March 28-30. The Boston Red Sox could be available then, stopping in Los Angeles on their way back from their scheduled March 22-23 series in Japan.

Mariners add Wallace-- The rumor that the Dodgers might be interested in Dave Wallace disappeared like the Rockies chances in Fenway Park when the Mariners named him as their Minor League pitching coordinator.

While his primary responsibility will be to oversee the pitchers and pitching coaches throughout the Minor League system, Wallace also will be available to assist general manager Bill Bavasi, a former Dodger GM) "as needed."

A Major League and Minor League coach and front-office executive since 1981, Wallace previously worked almost exclusively in the Dodgers organization, including a 17-season stretch from 1981-97. Wallace had previously served the Dodgers as a special assistant to the GM and later the interim GM.

As an instructor at the Major and Minor League levels, Wallace is credited with helping to develop, among others, Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez, Pedro Astacio, Darren Dreifort, Hideo Nomo and John Wetteland.

On Monday, the Mariners also announced the hiring former Dodger coach Jim Riggleman a bench coach. Not Again!-- Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that after missing the entire 2007 season with hamstring surgery, Dodgers outfielder Jason Repko was shut down after one week of instructional league play when an old ankle injury flared up.

Repko tore the hamstring muscle off the bone during a Spring Training game in which, a few innings earlier, his collision with Rafael Furcal left the shortstop with an ankle injury that plagued him all season.

Repko said he remains optimistic he can report to Spring Training 100 percent healthy.

"All year I was pushing it, hoping to get back in time to play in September, then hoping I could play in Arizona," said Repko. "Maybe I pushed too hard."

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