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Don Mattingly says Vicente Padilla won't return as designated closer when he is activated

June 1, 2011 |  6:41 pm

The Dodgers need a closer. Manager Don Mattingly wants a closer. And he has one -- sort of -- coming off the disabled list Friday.

Only despite the gaping hole in the bullpen, Vicente Padilla will not necessarily be reinstated as the Dodgers' closer.

Got that?

Mattingly went all wish-washy when asked Wednesday if Padilla will return as the closer when he is activated Friday.

"We really haven't talked about it too much," Mattingly said. "With him, you're not afraid to put him in that role.

"But the way we've done it to this point, we've got different guys we've used in different situations, kind of how we used Rubby [De La Rosa] last night for two innings. We've used Javy [Guerra].

"It's how we get there. Sometimes that save for me may come in the seventh. That may be a spot for him there. But I definitely won't be afraid to use him at the end of the game."

Not that Mattingly necessarily will, either. Very strange.

With injuries to Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Kenley Jansen and Padilla, the Dodgers have used six relievers to close their first 26 victories.

Padilla, coming off spring forearm surgery, was elevated to the role when Broxton and Kuo went down. He converted on all three of his save opportunities before forearm soreness flared.

While he was out rehabbing, Jansen went down with a sore shoulder. And then Mattingly had no designated guy, which apparently is the way it will continue for now.

"Honestly, I'd like to have that guy in the ninth where you say, 'This is our guy in the ninth and this is where we go.' And then you work to him," Mattingly said. "We haven't been able to put that scenario together. It's been really flexible in terms of how we're doing it.

"But I'd still like to have that guy in the ninth and know this is where we're going. We've asked a lot of our young guys and they've responded. For now, we're going to keep asking until we get something that reflects better."

-- Steve Dilbeck