The Dodgers had barely finished celebrating their latest victory when Don Mattingly rushed over to Juan Uribe. The Dodgers had just acquired Michael Young from the Philadelphia Phillies — completing the deal literally minutes before the game ended — and the manager wanted to assure Uribe he would remain the starting third baseman.
Young is coming home, for the first bench job of his 14-year career, for what might be his last chance to win a World Series championship ring. As the Dodgers concluded a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres, they added Young to their roster just ahead of the 9 p.m. PDT deadline for postseason eligibility.
"He is somebody we feel has a lot left," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said. "As we've done in the past on Aug. 31, we looked to add somebody of character and quality."
The Dodgers won't say it out loud, but they're looking ahead to October. They went 23-6 in August, the 23 victories a record since they moved to Los Angeles in 1958. They maintained a 101/2-game lead in the National League West, and they lowered their magic number for clinching the division title to 18.
Chris Capuano held the Padres to one run over seven innings, with Brian Wilson pitching a scoreless eighth inning for his first victory as a Dodger and Kenley Jansen striking out the side in the ninth for his 23rd save. The Dodgers' pitchers posted a 2.07 earned-run average in August, the lowest such figure for the team since 1981.
Young, 36, is one of the most popular players in baseball. Skip Schumaker, who scored the winning run on an eighth-inning single by Mark Ellis, raved about Young.
"What an addition, to have Michael Young as one of our September call-ups. That's incredible," said Schumaker, like Young a UC Santa Barbara product. "Michael Young is a winner as a person and a winner as a baseball player. Anybody in the big leagues would love to have him."
The Dodgers are depending on that reputation, since Young will not be starting for the first time in his career. Mattingly said he would use Young, a seven-time All-Star, to back up Uribe at third base and Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
Young also will be used as a pinch-hitter. He has 13 career pinch-hit at-bats.
"He's got a great swing," said Gonzalez, who played with Young on the Texas Rangers. "He knows how to prepare and be ready for at-bats. He'll do the job."
The offensive statistics for Young and Uribe this season are similar. Young is batting .276, with eight home runs in 126 games. Uribe is batting .271, with seven home runs in 110 games.
Uribe is the superior defender, so he will keep his starting position.
"Juan is doing a great job," Mattingly said. "His defense is a big part of what we do."
Uribe, who started the season backing up the since-released Luis Cruz, called Young a good player and said he would do whatever the Dodgers asked of him.
"I'm not mad," Uribe said. "I'm good."
Young, who grew up in Covina and attended La Puente Bishop Amat High, waived his no-trade clause to join the Dodgers. He is eligible for free agency after the season.
He has played in the World Series twice — for Texas in 2010 and '11 — but never has played on a team that won a championship.
The Dodgers will pay about $1 million of the $2.7 million remaining on his contract. In exchange, they sent the Phillies minor league left-hander Rob Rasmussen, 24, who was 0-7 with a 6.46 ERA at triple-A Albuquerque and 3-4 with a 2.55 ERA at double-A Chattanooga. Rasmussen, a UCLA product, is not considered a top prospect.
Young is expected to join the Dodgers on Monday.