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Home-field advantage not top priority for Dodgers' Don Mattingly

Dodgers manager says it makes no sense to play players not fully healthy in effort to gain the upper hand in the playoffs and possibly lose players to injuries.

September 09, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly talks to reporters before a game earlier this season.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly talks to reporters before a game earlier… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Although Manager Don Mattingly said Monday that he would like for the Dodgers to have home-field advantage in the playoffs, he made clear it wasn't at the top of his list of priorities.

The Dodgers will have home-field advantage through the National League playoffs if they finish with the league's best record. They went into their series opener Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks with an 83-59 record, which was second-best in the league to the Atlanta Braves' 86-57.

"What's the risk-reward of that?" Mattingly said. "A guy's leg's been sore and his hammy is a little tight, do you keep playing him or give him the breather and try to get him healthy?"

For the sake of argument, Mattingly offered a hypothetical situation involving shortstop Hanley Ramirez. If the Dodgers have clinched the NL West title and Ramirez is dealing with a tight hamstring, should he play Ramirez?

"It wouldn't make much sense," Mattingly said. "If we get to that point — we're all hypothetical, right? — and I play Hanley and he screws up a hammy and can't play Game 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the playoffs and you tell me that's worth it, then I'll play him."

Mattingly said he would rather have home-field advantage than not but didn't sound as if he thought it would severely alter his team's chances of winning a World Series.

"We've seen wild-card teams win the whole thing," he said.

Because the American League won the All-Star game, its representative in the World Series will have home-field advantage in the World Series.

Another Cuban in the mix

The Dodgers could be close to adding another high-profile Cuban defector, as they are moving toward a multi-year deal with infielder Alexander Guerrero, according to multiple people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Guerrero could be in the major leagues next season, according to some Dodgers officials, who raved about his bat.

Guerrero, 26, was an All-Star in Cuba's top league, which also produced Yasiel Puig. Guerrero represented Cuba in international play in 2011 and 2012.

Listed at 5 feet 11 and 205 pounds, Guerrero defected from Cuba this year. He established residency in Haiti and participated in a showcase at the Dodgers' training facility in the Dominican Republic.

Guerrero's deal could be worth at least $30 million, according to multiple reports.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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