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The evolution of Don Mattingly, manager, continues

July 27, 2011 |  6:11 am

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new Don Mattingly?

Don Mattingly, manager with an edge?

Nah, hard to visualize that, which is not to say there might not be something of a metamorphosis going on with him.

Mattingly, the rookie manager, figures to undergo something of a natural evolution, and he may be showing signs of it with his decision to sit the left-handed James Loney, even against some right-handed pitchers.

Loney was on the bench again Tuesday against Colorado right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, Mattingly deciding to go with Juan Rivera again at first. Rivera offers the threat of more pop, on a team in desperate need of it.

"I've talked to James about it,"’ Mattingly said. "It's a bottom-line business, right? I'm not crushing down on him, but he has 30 RBI and we're a team struggling to score runs.

"I'm sure he's not thrilled about it."

Yet Mattingly made the move anyway. Loney looked like he'd broken out of his early struggles when he batted .293 in May and then .337 in June, but he's batting just .175 in July. And has just four homers and 33 RBIs on the year.

Mattingly is viewed as a players' manager, but his benching of Loney -- even if occasional -- is fairly bold for him and could indicate he's becoming less concerned with bruising a player's feelings.

That’s not to say he's about to go all Billy Martin on anyone, but he appears more comfortable making the harder decisions.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire

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