Don Mattingly allowed Jimmy Rollins to manage the Dodgers in their regular-season finale, as everything from the team’s place in the standings to the home-field advantage in the postseason was already set.
Started by Mattingly’s predecessor and mentor, Joe Torre, the annual tradition has produced a number of laughs over the years and did so again Sunday.
In the wake of the Dodgers’ 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres, Mattingly playfully feigned outrage at how the typically intense Clayton Kershaw reacted when Rollins removed him from the game with two outs in the fourth inning.
“Ridiculous,” Mattingly said with a smile. “He even had a smile. I haven’t seen Kersh smile on the field in, like, five years. I mean, he smiled out there.”
Only two starts ago, Mattingly was subjected to a tirade by Kershaw upon delivering similar news.
Said Kershaw about Rollins: “I wouldn’t give Jimmy a hard time on his first day of managing.”
If Rollins is to be believed, this will also be his last. Rollins said he would never manage again.
“Me and [Floyd] Mayweather,” Rollins boasted of his undefeated record, comparing it to that of the recently retired boxing champion.
Rollins managed while wearing a Tommy Lasorda jersey. His pitching coach, closer Kenley Jansen, wore pitching coach Rick Honeycutt’s uniform top.
“The last manager to win the World Series was wearing a jersey very similar to that in this city,” Rollins said. “So I went out there representing a world champ.”
Is he ready?
Outfielder Yasiel Puig returned from the disabled list to play in the last two regular-season games. He played a combined 15 innings in the games, including six Sunday as a fourth-inning defensive replacement. He was a combined one for five at the plate.
Puig reported no problems with his recently strained right hamstring, but the Dodgers will have to take him at his word, as the former All-Star right fielder never ran close to full speed.
Puig said his restraint was a reflection of game situations rather than his health.
“There were no moments that called for me to run at 100%,” Puig said in Spanish.
With Scott Van Slyke sidelined in recent days because of a swollen wrist, Puig is under consideration for a place on the 25-man roster for a National League division series against the New York Mets that starts Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Puig said he would have no problems if he is used as a reserve.
He is ready
Whereas some questions remained about Puig’s readiness for the postseason, utilityman Enrique Hernandez over the last week erased any doubts regarding his status.
“I’m ready,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez, who was also sidelined because of a strained hamstring, returned last weekend and played five games.
He batted .294 with a home run in those games and started three consecutive games in center field in one stretch.