Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was put through the wringer on a multitude of subjects, including Yasiel Puig’s return, Scott Van Slyke’s injury, Jose Peraza’s injury, Zack Greinke’s ERA title chase and Clayton Kershaw’s quest for 300 strikeouts.
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Chris Heisey/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers
Chris Heisey was in the dugout Thursday afternoon when Clayton Kershaw engaged manager Don Mattingly in an animated discussion after Mattingly informed Kershaw he was coming out for a pinch-hitter leading off the bottom of the fifth inning.
Heisey hit a grand slam to cap off the six-run fifth, giving the Dodgers a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to reduce their magic number to clinch the NL West to least four pending the outcome of the night game between the second-place Giants and San Diego Padres.
Heisey listened in on the conversation between Kershaw and Mattingly. He loved it.
“I was intent on listening to what he (Kershaw) had to say,” Heisey said. “He’s the best pitcher in baseball and I love the fact that he didn’t want to come out of the game and I also respect the coaches for making the decision to get him out of there. We were down 3-0 and you get to save his arm a little bit. But you can’t ever argue with the competitive spirit he has. You want to play behind the guy and play with a guy that cares to be in a game.”
By the way, thanks to Heisey, Kershaw earned his 15th win.
There is a chance Yasiel Puig won’t return this season/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers
Kike Hernandez, Yasiel Puig and Jose Peraza are all nursing hamstring injuries. Mattingly sounded almost certain that Hernandez will return, but he was not as optimistic about Puig and Peraza.
“I feel that Kiké will be back this year, 100 percent, unless he has a setback,” he said. “The next few days are big for him with the increased work load. Yasiel is still having issues running. Last I saw, he was running at 70 percent. We’ll see how he progresses. Peraza is at about the same stage as Puig. We just have to let it play out.”
Justin Turner/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers
Third baseman Justin Turner was back in the lineup Thursday after missing the previous four games with a sore left knee. Even so, manager Don Mattingly said he will be cautious with Turner moving forward.
“We’re going to be careful with him,” Mattingly said. “He won’t be in there every day, it’s going to be a day here or a day there. We’ve got it calmed down and he feels better, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be out there every day.”
Yogi Berra/Photo by Associated Press
When manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday afternoon was talking with reporters about Yogi Berra, who died Tuesday at age 90, he was asked about any Yogi-isms Berra might have imparted at him as the two knew each other well.
Mattingly, who was a special instructor with the Yankees from 1997-2003, recalled one that made him smile.
“Spring training, it was one year before I actually became a full-time coach,” he said. “I was just coming in doing a month thing. (Manager) Joe (Torre) had me following Nick Johnson around; he was a young first baseman coming up. So we went to Bradenton (Florida) and Yogi didn’t go; he stayed back and worked out the other group.
“And they’re done at 1 o’clock. We come back around 5:30 and Yogi’s still sitting there. He dressed, and I go, ‘Yogi, have you been here all day? What are you doing here?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, it would have been all day at the hotel, too.’ “