LOS ANGELES -- Despite concerns about historically slow starts from players in the past, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he would allow his players to take part in the 2013 World Baseball Classic if asked, thanks to newly named manager Joe Torre's track record as a big league manager.
"He's been through enough of those tournaments to have a better understanding," Mattingly said. "When he was managing the Yankees and guys were leaving and getting ready to go play, he'll have a better feel for that. He'll be great for it. He'll be a great ambassador."
Mattingly expressed concerns that players don't get the work they need before the season because they work out, hit and play instead of working on the finer things, like bunting or defense, that the team goes over in Spring Training.
Torre said he had the same concerns when he was managing and he guaranteed that he will take care of all the players and send them back ready.
With Torre's promise and his background, Mattingly said he wouldn't hold players like Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier back if they wanted to participate.
However, that is under one main stipulation.
"We're trying to win a World Series, [so that is only] if [the Classic] doesn't get in the way of it and our guys are going to be prepared as Day One starts," he said.
Dodgers back in action after needed off-day
LOS ANGELES -- After playing 20 games in as many days, the Dodgers finally got a break on Thursday with an off-day.The 20-game stretch started with a homestand against Houston and Milwaukee followed by trips to Colorado, Philadelphia and Seattle. The team wrapped up the marathon with a mark of 10-10 after a three-game series against the Angels this week.
Manager Don Mattingly said he's sure the players needed the rest, but he doesn't even notice when the team goes through long stretches like it just completed.
"Guys just keep going," he said. "If you talk about it, then you get tired. They say, 'Oh, we've played 13 straight or 19 straight or whatever.' You start moaning that out and you need it if you moan out long enough. You just keep going and then there comes an off-day."
Mattingly opted not to shuffle his rotation in order to give the starters some rest. Clayton Kershaw started Friday's series opener against the White Sox, followed by Chad Billingsley on Saturday and Chris Capuano on Sunday. The team will get another break from the action after the White Sox series before a 19-game stretch that leads into the All-Star break.
Mattingly happy for first-year skippers' success
LOS ANGELES -- With the White Sox and manager Robin Ventura in town for a three-game set at Dodger Stadium, manager Don Mattingly said he thinks it's pretty cool to see first-year managers like Ventura finding early success with the job.
Also noting first-year Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, Mattingly said it's neat to see former players get chances similar to what he was given last year when he took over the Dodgers' job despite not much managerial experience.
"He's in first place over there," Mattingly said about Ventura. "We're in first place over here. Matheny's club is doing well. It's kind of cool that guys are getting that kind of opportunity."
"If you look at Robin, he's a guy that's been around baseball his whole life," Mattingly added. "He's a good baseball guy. With Matheny, it's the same thing. He's a good baseball person. We're trying to get the best out of our guys."
With former players getting these sorts of early opportunities, Mattingly said the key is trying to bring in a certain tone and environment to the clubhouse that encourages guys to play their best baseball.
Ventura, who finished his playing career in Dodger blue, has the White Sox in first place in the American League Central with a 34-29 record before Friday's tilt. In Mattingly's first season, he led the Dodgers to an 82-79 record.
"I look forward to seeing Robin and a couple of the boys over there," Mattingly said. "But you prepare for their team and you really try to execute your own stuff. It's almost impersonal with the other guy over there trying to understand what kind of club he's got and get a feel for their team."
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.