LOS ANGELES -- Joe Torre, who won four World Series titles with the Yankees as part of a 29-year managerial career, will take on another challenge next March, when he leads Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Torre, 71, was named manager of the team on Thursday by USA Baseball. He is currently Major League Baseball's executive vice president for baseball operations.
"Managing is in your system," Torre said on Thursday night at a fundraiser for his charity, the Safe at Home Foundation. "I don't want to do it as a full-time job ... but this is a unique opportunity. You put on the uniform, and there's a 'USA' across the chest. That's a different kind of pressure."
Torre noted that when he was managing in the Majors, handing his star players to another coaching staff in the middle of Spring Training always made him a bit uneasy.
To that end he made a promise to the 30 Major League skippers.
"I know I'm going to guarantee the managers and the general managers that I'm going to have these guys going back to their teams ready to start the season," he said. "I think that's the most important thing I can commit to those teams. I'll take care of their players, and hopefully they can trust me on that."
Dates and locations for the third installment of the World Baseball Classic have yet to be announced, but qualifiers are set to be held for the first time in September and November in venues spanning four countries (Regensburg, Germany; Panama City, Panama; Taipei, Taiwan; and Jupiter, Fla.).
The U.S. team has yet to place better than fourth in the international competition, having finished sixth in the inaugural event in 2006 and fourth in '09.
Torre plans to change that. One shift he may make would come in the pre-tournament training regimen, as he wants his players to train before Spring Training begins.
"Other countries are deeper into the training at that time," he said. "I know as a manager, I cringed at it, because I was giving them players that weren't ready yet to play games full bore. But we're going to try to do something a little bit different. We'll try to get some training early on before Spring Training. It's a bad time of year as far as having guys sharp."
Buck Martinez managed the squad in 2006, and Nationals skipper Davey Johnson held the reins in '09. The lineup most recently featured such All-Stars as Derek Jeter, David Wright, Dustin Pedroia, Curtis Granderson and Evan Longoria.
"We are thrilled to announce Joe Torre as the manager of the U.S. for the upcoming World Baseball Classic," Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's executive director and CEO, said. "Joe's track record as a manager speaks for itself, and we're excited to have his leadership in place as we attempt to secure our first World Baseball Classic title."
Torre played 18 seasons (1960-77) in the big leagues. His career included nine All-Star Game appearances and the 1971 National League MVP Award. Torre then managed the Mets (five years), Braves (three), Cardinals (six), Yankees (12) and Dodgers (three).
His 2,326 career managerial wins rank fifth all time. He led the Yankees to six American League pennants, 12 postseason appearances and 10 AL East titles. He then led the Dodgers to two consecutive National League West crowns and back-to-back appearances in the NL Championship Series. He resigned from managing in 2010 after his stint with the Dodgers.
Torre was hired by Major League Baseball in 2011 and left briefly in January to explore opportunities with a group that participated in the bidding for the Dodgers before returning to his post in March.
Along with USA Baseball, Torre will round out his coaching staff and roster over the next several months, making many of the calls himself.