At 36, Jamey Carroll was supposed to be merely a utility infielder for the Dodgers this season, a veteran whose glove would come in handy off the bench.
Carroll instead became one of the Dodgers' most consistent and reliable players, appearing in 132 games, batting .293 and earning the team's Roy Campanella Award for his "spirit and leadership."
There was one more reward Saturday: Manager Joe Torre tapped him to be the Dodgers' skipper as part of his tradition of letting players manage a game or two at season's end. And before the game, Carroll joked that if starting pitcher Chad Billingsley "goes nine [innings], I don't have to worry about it."
Carroll came close to getting his wish.
Billingsley retired the first 13 batters he faced, didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning and went on to hold Arizona to two runs and four hits in 71/3 innings as the Dodgers edged the Diamondbacks, 3-2, at Dodger Stadium.
The victory gave the right-hander a winning record for the season of 12-11.
And a resurgent Matt Kemp led the Dodgers' offense with a two-run home run in the fifth inning against Arizona starter and former Angel Joe Saunders, Kemp's fourth homer in his last four games.
The Dodgers scored again in the sixth inning when Arizona center fielder Chris Young dropped Rod Barajas' deep fly, enabling Barajas to reach third base, and Reed Johnson brought Barajas home with a sacrifice fly.
Asked whether he wanted to coach or manage one day, Carroll indicated he would.
"I've had the opportunity to play for some pretty good baseball people and I hope I've learned a lot," said Carroll, who previously played for the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies, among other clubs.
"At the same time, I don't know which level [and] how to do it as far as whether managing, hitting coach or fielding coach."
How much longer does he want to play?
"I don't know," Carroll said. "Some days I feel like, wow, I can play this game until I'm 40, and other days I'd like to get to 10 years [in the majors] and that's two more years from now."
Torre, who plans to step down as manager after this season, will manage the team's season finale Sunday in what's expected to be an emotional day for the 70-year-old Torre.
Torre didn't start regular shortstop Rafael Furcal because Furcal was batting .301 entering Saturday's game and Torre wanted to ensure that Furcal kept a .300 average for the season.
"He's fine [physically] he's just not going to play," Torre said. "He's hitting .300 and I'm not going to put him in there."
Furcal, 32, had a fairly strong season and made the All-Star team despite missing 52 games due to two stints on the disabled list for a strained left hamstring and a low back strain.
Lindsey's dream season
With the season ending Sunday, so will one of the Dodgers' feel-good stories of the year: John Lindsey.
The first baseman spent 16 years in the minors until the Dodgers called him up last month. He collected his first big-league hit before suffering a broken bone in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch Sept. 25.
Carroll picked Lindsey, 33, to be his guest batting coach Saturday. "He's had the broken hand and hasn't probably felt like he was in the mix anymore," Carroll said. "I just felt like it was something fun to kind of get him involved."
Lindsey said he plans to get a pin inserted to fix his hand, hopes to play winter ball in Mexico and then report to spring training next year.
And how would he sum up his Dodgers experience? "It was all I expected and more," he said. "Man, I wish I would have gotten here sooner."