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Notes: No more Mota in dugout

Notes: No more Mota in dugout

ANAHEIM -- When the Dodgers take the field in Milwaukee for Monday's 2007 regular season opener, a certain presence will be missing.

Manny Mota, a coach with the team since 1980 and a fixture in the dugout most of that tenure, will be watching from his home in Montrose. It's part of the Dodgers' response to Major League Baseball's strict enforcement of a rule that permits only six coaches in uniform and on the field during games.

Those six are the first-base, third-base, bench, pitching, hitting and bullpen coaches. MLB has threatened fines for teams not in compliance.

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"Manny Mota is a legend on and off the field, and he has been for many years," manager Grady Little said before Game 3 of the Freeway Series with the Angels.

Mota will not travel with the team in 2007, but when the team is at home he will continue as a coach in all phases of the position except for game-time activity. After helping in a pregame capacity, he'll dress and watch the game from the club level.

"I feel fine," Mota said when asked for his reaction. "Rules are rules and that's that. I'm glad and grateful to be part of this organization. ... Wherever they need me, that's where I'll be. I will be a Dodger for the rest of my life."

Mota's 20-year Major League playing career produced a career-record 150 pinch hits, which stood from 1979 until 2001, when it was broken by Lenny Harris. Mota broke in with San Francisco in 1962 and played with five teams, predominantly with the Dodgers (1970-1982).

Little's response to the crackdown echoed Mota's.

"It's a rule," the manager said. "Things change in the game of baseball, but the game continues."

Mota said the adjustment won't knock him off stride, even the part about not traveling with the club.

"On Monday, I'll watch from home, but my spirit will be with my team."

Perez in blue: The Dodgers on Friday acquired infielder Tomas Perez from the Chicago Cubs for future considerations. The move bolsters the team's supply of backup help given the uncertainty of starting shortstop Rafael Furcal's return from injury.

Little said a final decision on Furcal's roster status would be made late Saturday.

Kemp on fire: On March 22, outfielder Matt Kemp had a Spring Training batting average of .209 (9-for-43) with no home runs and two RBIs. Since then, he's gone 6-for-18 (.333) with four home runs and seven RBIs, putting his batting average at .246 and his slugging percentage at .475.

Spring cleaning: The Dodgers' victory on Friday night assured the club of its second consecutive winning record during Spring Training. ... Infielder Tony Abreu was named the winner of the 2007 Jim and Dearie Mulvey Award, given to the top rookie in camp and named after the former Dodgers owners, who had a share in the team from 1938 until 1975.

Up next: The Dodgers leave town on Sunday morning for Milwaukee, where they open the 2007 season on Monday. Right-hander Derek Lowe will face Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets at 11:05 a.m. PT.

Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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