DURHAM, N.C. – Joe Torre is returning to the dugout next year — to manage the United States at the World Baseball Classic.
Torre, who turns 72 next month, guided the New York Yankees to four World Series championships and managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008-10. He is now Major League Baseball's Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations.
"I have been fortunate to have many different experiences throughout my career, but being a part of Team USA will be a first, and I am very excited about it," Torre said in a statement released by USA Baseball on Thursday.
The tournament begins with qualifiers in September and November of 2012, with the U.S. team starting up in March. Buck Martinez managed a U.S. team full of All-Stars to a sixth-place finish in the first WBC in 2006 and Davey Johnson led the U.S. squad into the semifinals in 2009.
Johnson later returned to the majors to manage the Washington Nationals. Torre, who spent 29 managing in the big leagues, said he has no desire to follow Johnson's lead.
"I don't miss it," he said on a conference call. "I have no ambition to audition for another job."
Torre said he will keep his duties at MLB during the WBC. Part of Torre's current job involves dealing with umpires.
"I'm going to have to be careful when I argue with umpires," he kidded. "May have to bring them a drink of water."
Torre said he expected the U.S. roster to be a mix of veterans and younger players, without mentioning any players by name. Asked whether he'd try to coax Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter into playing for him, Torre said, "Obviously, Derek is special."
Along with trying to win the tournament, Torre said he wanted to take all steps to prevent injuries. Some teams have been hesitant to let their stars participate in the WBC, worrying they could get hurt at a time when they'd normally be in spring training.
"I was always skeptical when my players left me," he said. Torre said his goal was to have the U.S. team players return to their clubs "in better shape" than when they exited.