Don Mattingly had alot ot say this afternoon before the Second game of the Freeway Series between the Dodgers and the Angels- Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-Game Talk With Don Mattingly

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I am sitting here in the Dodger Stadium Press box looking out over the newly upgraded Chavez Ravine Field. Actually, the field looks the same, It’s just as beautiful as ever. Except for the cool looking new “LA” logo stenciled into the center field grass. While all of the hoopla today surrounded the new upgrades to Dodger Stadium, the roster deadline still looms on Sunday.

Down in the Dodger dugout, several other reporters/writers and myself asked Don Mattingly about several of the story-lines surrounding today’s game. The topics included the new upgrades to Dodger Stadium, the roster deadline, the left side of the infield, and the health of Chad Billingsley and the rest of the pitching staff. Here is what Donnie had to say on those subjects.

When asked about the potential Scrubbie rotation of Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston Jr, and Juan Uribe. I asked him how he would be rotating them. Would it be based on righty/lefty, or would it be based on match-ups?

Don replied…..

“It’s going to be based on match-ups and who is swinging good.” (Fair enough. Looks like I was wrong, I had figured he would be rotating them based on righty/lefty. Donnie Baseball always seems to surprise me somehow.)

When asked about the new improvements to Dodger Stadium, or the “new digs” as one reporter referred to them as. Mattingly had this to say…

It’s pretty nice, but I don’t know where anything is yet.”  (I know the feeling Don, you could get lost down in the clubhouse maze.) It’s a nice problem to have. It makes for a better environment for the players.

On the opening day lineup, Donnie had this to say. “I don’t know. Right now, I just don’t know”. I want to keep seeing Sellers at shortstop. We’ve talked about that. We’re just trying to put the pieces together right now.

 

On Ted Lilly’s health…..

“He never was able to catch up. He didn’t build enough innings, and he was ill.” We’re trying to do what’s right for him and everyone.”

On Chad Billingsley……

“He threw a session in Anaheim., and he threw pretty well. His fingernail is his biggest issue right now. He threw about 10 or 12 curveballs.  He’s going to be 100% ready. We’re not concerned about the elbow right now. There was no swelling at all.”

Is Bills a DL candidate?

“Depends on where we put him. We need to make sure he’s protected and 100% ready. We don’t need a fifth starter until whenever. (April 13).

On huge expectations entering 2013 season……

“We’re good with it. We need to embrace the high expectations. Then we just have to play good Baseball.” There’s a balance. Guys have to have fun. But we also have to take care of business.

On the Dodgers and the Angels in the Freeway Series…..

“Both teams have good clubs, and have made big moves. It should be interesting.”

On Clayton Kershaw’s stuff….

“he’s fine. He gave up some runs, but after his third start of the spring, he was fine. He’s ready.”

On the new renovations. …

“Guy’s are very excited for sure. Don’t know what it does, but it makes players fee; better, and it’s a great selling point”.

On being ready for opening day…..

“We feel ready. We’re fairly healthy, and had plenty of time. Spring is about preparing for the season. Then the gates open and they’re ready to go.”

On NL West…….

“It’s going to be a battleground”

On Carl Crawford’s throwing…..

“Crawford’s arm isn’t 100%, but he will be able to hit the cut-off man. We’re slowly trying to build up his arm strength.”

I want to thank Don Mattingly for being so gracious and candid with his responses. He is a very well spoken man. On a side note, while everyone was conducting pregame interviews with Mattingly in the dugout, I was standing in a huge puddle of water. There wasn’t a whole lot of room. (when doing pre-game interviews in the dugout, it does not pay to be short!)

Tonight the Dodgers take on the Angels in the second game of the Freeway Series. Jason Vargas will be on the mound for the Halos, while the Dodgers will counter with Josh Beckett.

Here is the Dodger lineup below.

Carl Crawford LF
Mark Ellis 2B
Matt Kemp CF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Andre Ethier RF
A.J. Ellis C
Justin Sellers SS
Josh Beckett P

Jason Vargas vs. Josh Beckett

We will get another look at Justin Sellers tonight. And I am not 100% sure, but we may just see a PuigAlert tonight. He is here with the club, and will be on the bench tonight. Just make sure when the sirens go off, you stop what you are doing , or get down under your desk.

Tonight’s game starts at 7:10 PM, and will be televised on Prime Ticket. Go Blue!

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Tags: Chad Billingsley Clayton Kershaw Don Mattingly Jerry Hairston Jr. Juan Uribe Justin Sellers Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp Nick Punto Ted Lilly

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