Torre front and center as manager of Los Angeles Dodgers

After turning down an offer to return to New York, Torre heads to the West Coast.

;LOS ANGELES (AP) – Joe Torre pulled on his crisp blue cap and shimmering white jersey, squinted into the California sun and immediately looked like a longtime member of the famous Dodger family.

Flanked by Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda and broadcasting great Vin Scully on a center-field stage at Dodger Stadium, Torre was quick to pay tribute to one of baseball’s most successful franchises Monday.

“I didn’t sleep all night,” he said. “It’s just a great feeling to be here. This is one of a handful of organizations you automatically say yes to.”

Indeed, Torre was front and center for his introduction as Los Angeles’ new manager – less than three weeks after walking away from the New York Yankees. Scully delivered the opening remarks for an event held in center field to accommodate the overload of media, a first according to team spokesman Josh Rawitch.

Near the podium, Torre was joined by team owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, general manager Ned Colletti, pitching ace Brad Penny and Lasorda.

“The Dodgers were always special and I certainly expect the Dodgers will always be special,” Torre said. “I get choked up.”

Torre walked onto the fog-shrouded field arm-in-arm with his wife, Ali. They took seats on a stage with their backs to the multitiered stands.

“Wow! This has been wild here. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind,” Torre said. “You say goodbye to one prestigious organization and you say hello to another prestigious organization.”

Torre will wear No. 6, a carry-over from his Yankees uniform. He announced that former New York coaches Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa will follow him and join his staff with the Dodgers.

Mattingly’s son, Preston, is a minor leaguer in the Dodgers’ organization.

“Don Mattingly, I can’t tell you how excited he is,” Torre said. “We’re just looking to go to work.”

Torre left the Yankees after 12 seasons and four World Series titles. He follows Casey Stengel in becoming the second person to manage both storied franchises. Stengel led the Brooklyn Dodgers to losing records from 1934-36, moved over to the Boston Braves, then guided the Yankees to seven Series titles from 1949-60.

The 67-year-old Torre replaced Grady Little, who quit last week, and takes over an underperforming team that hasn’t won the Series since 1988. The Dodgers finished fourth in the NL West last season at 82-80.

“I don’t know my team, obviously,” Torre said. “I’ve been in the American League the last 12 years.

“The goals as far as I’m concerned – you go out there and you play hard and you play smart and you hope to get a good result,” he added. “I can talk about it all day long. We’re going to have to prove it out here.”