Dodgers closing in on deal with Torre

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Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers are said to be "getting closer'' to a deal for Torre to become manager of the storied West Coast team that, like Torre, had its roots in Brooklyn.

Torre's contract with the Dodgers could be announced as early as Thursday and would represent a major rebound for the legendary manager whose breakup with the New York Yankees after 12 seasons was marked by bitterness.

Torre was said to have been contacted by the Dodgers about two weeks ago, just before he rejected a one-year, $5 million offer from the Yankees with an additional $3 million in performance bonuses. Torre, who made $7.5 million in 2007, called the Yankees' idea for an option and incentives insulting.

The Dodgers actually tried first to hire Joe Girardi to replace Grady Little; however, Girardi chose to replace Torre as Yankees manager instead.

Newsday reported that the Yankees paid Girardi, who will be introduced at a Yankee Stadium press conference Thursday, $7.8 million over three years, more than the $6 million they allotted since there was competition from the Dodgers. The New York Post reported that Torre's contract with the Dodgers will be for $14.5 million over three years, suggesting he wasn't hurt by being the second choice.

Torre will be accompanied to Los Angeles by Don Mattingly, who lost out to Girardi for the Yankees managing job and would serve as a coach on Torre's staff.

General manager Ned Colletti acknowledged Wednesday he had spoken with Torre.

"We've had some conversations with him very recently," Colletti said. "Certainly, as you look at his resume and what he's done and the market he's done it in, you've certainly got to start there."

Teams are generally directed to interview at least one minority candidate for open managerial jobs, but the Dodgers were granted an exemption in this case by commissioner Bud Selig.

"The Dodgers have a great record on minority hiring throughout the organization," baseball spokesman Rich Levin said.

The 67-year-old Torre, who managed the Yankees to four World Series titles and 12 playoff appearances in 12 seasons, completed a three-year, $19.2 million contract this year. He ranks eighth on baseball's career list with 2,067 victories and has won a record 76 postseason games.