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Category: Manny Mota

Dodgers coaching staff tranquillity: Whole group returns for 2012

Photo: Don Mattingly. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press.

Ah, harmony, ain’t it grand? Not a frequent visitor to the Dodgers the last two seasons, but they have found a comfortable accord in one area.

The Dodgers announced Friday that their entire coaching staff would return next season, which, though expected, is still noteworthy for the speed in which it was accomplished.

Of course, the staff could still change if one of the coaches –- Tim Wallach? –- gets an offer to manage over the winter, but for now at least one significant area is all settled. And think how happy agent Dave Stewart must be.

It was Stewart who complained about the way the coaches Larry Bowa and Bob Schaefer were handling his numero uno client, Matt Kemp, last season. Guess which two coaches didn’t return in 2011?

Kemp, of course, found his groove this year with a breakout season, so why would there be any rocking of the boat now? Plus, they all seem to work well together with Manager Don Mattingly and are liked and respected by the players. Win-win.

So the seven solid coaches the Dodgers ended the season with are now all scheduled to return, though that technically still leaves them down one spot from the last few years. After hitting coach Jeff Pentland was fired in July, another coach was never added.

The seven samurai are:

Dave Hansen, originally hired as a hitting instructor to assist Pentland, was promoted to hitting coach on July 20, the team hitting .261 the rest of the way; Trey Hillman is back for his second year as bench coach; Rick Honeycutt is back for a seventh season as pitching coach after the staff composed a 3.54 ERA; Ken Howell returns for his fifth year as the bullpen coach; Davey Lopes, credited for igniting the team’s running attack, returns for his second year as first base coach; Wallach is back for a second stint as the third base coach; and Manny Mota a record 33rd year as a coach.


Strong finish sparks hope for Dodgers in 2012

Dodgers' Matt Kemp has one final blast in 7-5 victory

T.J. Simers: Don Mattingly hopes he's earned his stripes as a manager

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Don Mattingly. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press.

Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum deliver again; Dodgers win, 2-1

Dodgers-blog_640 There are not many things in life that can be counted upon to live up to high expectations, but apparently all Clayton Kershaw-Tim Lincecum matchups are one of them.

The two young pitching greats were matched up for the third time this season, and for the third time it proved a brilliant pitching duel. And for the third time, Kershaw came out ahead.

Lincecum, however, did not lose Friday’s game; that was left to reliever Santiago Casillo. He took over to start the ninth in a 1-1 game and almost immediately watched the Dodgers rally for a 2-1 victory.

Rod Barajas led off the ninth with a single off Casillo. Ex-Giant Eugenio Velez ran for Barajas, who was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Justin Sellers. Casillo looked unnerved. He threw a wild pitch to allow Velez to take third.

The Giants brought the infield in, and Jamey Carroll hit a bouncer to second baseman Jeff Keppinger. He fired home but was too late to get the speedy Velez.

The victory was the Dodgers’ 14th in their last 15 games, and did absolutely nothing to damage the Cy Young resume of Kershaw.

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Davey Lopes, Tim Wallach and Trey Hillman officially named to Dodgers' coaching staff [Updated]


The Dodgers officially announced their 2011 coaching staff Monday, the news value of which had long ago dissipated as it was leaked out in pieces for weeks.

Manager Don Mattingly’s first coaching staff will look largely familiar, with even the new faces being old friends.

Officially out: bench coach Bob Schaefer, third base coach Larry Bowa, first base coach Mariano Duncan and, of course, hitting coach Mattingly.

The replacements: bench coach Trey Hillman, third base coach Tim Wallach, first base coach Davey Lopes and hitting instructor Dave Hansen.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, hitting coach Jeff Pentland (up from instructor), bullpen coach Ken Howell and coach Manny Mota all return.

Schaefer decided it was time he moved on, but Bowa and Duncan wanted to return. I’d have liked to have seen the no-nonsense Bowa back, never feeling that leading a popularity contest in the clubhouse among coaches was a requirement.

Mattingly, too, wanted Bowa, but General Manager Ned Colletti said the coaching staff would be a mutual decision between him and Mattingly, so you can see how that went down.

"We’re really happy to have this group here," Colletti said. "In my tenure here, this has a chance to be the strongest group we’ve had."

Though I don’t have any personal insight about the American League’s Hillman, Mattingly and Colletti deserve some props for putting together a strong staff. And one largely with Dodgers roots.

Mattingly gets credit for not being threatened by Wallach, the former Dodger who had managed the last two seasons at triple-A Albuquerque and was favored by many to succeed Joe Torre.

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Dodgers keep Manny Ramirez on bench for third consecutive game and the yuks just keep coming

Manny Ramirez was on the bench again Saturday.

Say what?

That big bat the team has been supposedly longing for since June, that dynamic hitter who makes everybody in the lineup better, the guy who needs to get his rhythm back, that great "presence" … is sitting out his third consecutive game?

This stinks to the baseball heavens. It offers no logic, only suspicion.

"This is just my dumb move," manager Joe Torre said to reporters in Denver.

OK, at least there’s something we can agree upon.

Otherwise, somebody get a reality check. If you going to keep Manny Ramirez, play him. Does anyone seriously believe the Dodgers have a more potent lineup playing Scott Podsednik over Manny?

"There is no reason I can give you that makes sense," Torre said. "A lot of what I do is a feel thing."

No reason that he can give us, is not the same as having no reason. The immediate suspicion is the Dodgers are afraid that if they play him he’ll get hurt and blow any deal they have going with the White Sox, who claimed him Friday.

The Dodgers have until Tuesday morning to either pull Manny back off the waiver wire, work a trade with the White Sox or elect to keep him.

The latter presumably would mean actually playing him. Or perhaps not.

In the eight days since Manny returned from the disabled list a week ago Saturday, he has played three times. That’s it. Three of seven games.

"It’s not easy sitting Manny down," Torre said.

Apparently it’s ridiculously easy.

Torre said he planned to meet with Manny to map out how much he could play over the season’s final month. I don’t know, I’m thinking it’s probably more often than three times every eight days.

"The one thing we want to do is make sure we can keep him on the field," Torre said. "We have to make a plan."

A plan, of course, being much different than a feel. Torre said he kept Manny on the bench Sunday because the team scored six runs Friday (though none through seven innings), he liked the energy Podsednik brought to the lineup and because the outfield is so cavernous in Denver.

Also because it’s the age of Aquarius.

Really, if Manny is that fragile, why would any team want him? Sitting him might actually sabotage a trade plan, unless of course the White Sox have asked Ned Colletti not to play him while they try to work out a deal.

"I’ve never told a manager at any point in time who to play, who not to play," Colletti said.

Torre wouldn’t even confirm that Manny would play Sunday. The guy Torre was saying just last week he would play as much as possible.

And now he can’t get into the lineup? With their season hanging by a thread?

Hope this makes sense by Tuesday, because my "feel thing’’ on Saturday is that it’s ludicrous.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Web musings: When the McCourts are done, what will be left of the Dodgers?

For a couple so concerned about their image that they went through public relations types like most people go through socks, The Times’ T.J. Simers finds the McCourts' willingness to publicly trash each other astonishing.

Of course, this being Simers -- and Frank and Jamie McCourt -- he finds a lot of what they do astounding.

Simers takes a look at the coming trial and its potential impact on ownership, the team, management and the broadcasting booth.

-- In case you missed The Times’ Bill Shaikin’s latest piece on the McCourts’ divorce proceedings, here's his piece from Saturday on the couple at least attempting to settle before going to trial but remaining far apart on judging the team's value.

-- Shortstop Rafael Furcal is headed to the disabled list with his strained lower back, reports The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. Juan Castro is expected to replace him on the roster.

-- Zack Lee, the Dodgers’ No.1 draft pick in camp as a quarterback at LSU, told the that he hasn’t talked to the Dodgers since the June draft and is proceeding with plans to be with the Tigers.

"I haven't really heard anything from them [the Dodgers]," Lee said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm here to stay until something else happens. And I don't really see it happening."

The deadline to sign this year’s draft picks is Aug. 17.

--’s Ken Gurnick reports that three specialists agree that surgery for catcher Russell Martin’s broken hip is not necessary, at least for the next three weeks.

Martin is now expected to be on crutches for four weeks, and then reevaluated.

-- Times columnist Bill Plaschke profiles Tommy Lasorda's undying commitment to the Dodgers.

--’s Jon Weisman writes that if Joe Torre retires at the end of the season, he will be remembered much more as a baseball manager than a Dodgers manager.

-- The Riverside Press-Enterprise’s Gregg Patton thinks the newfound strength of the Dodgers’ rotation still gives the club a chance at a playoff berth.

--’s Robert Timm wonders if reports the Dodgers have some interest in signing Jose Guillen means they’re not figuring on the return of Manny Ramirez.

--’s David Young examines the Dodgers’ success and failure on their recent East Coast trips.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Arriving for the first time at Dodgers' Camelback Ranch

It’s the first full-squad workout of the spring, my first time ever at the Dodgers’ spring training home in Arizona, and here are some first impressions and observations:

-- Camelback Ranch is gorgeous, with deep green grass surrounded by rocks and building material in desert hues. The stadium, shared with the White Sox, is impressive and feels massive at 10,000 seats.

The complex certainly lacks the charm of Dodgertown. The surrounding area smacks of typical suburbia and doesn’t have the distinctive, tropical feel of Vero Beach, Fla.

But it’s modern and clean and a five-hour drive from L.A., not a five-hour plane ride.

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