Injuries won't temper Mattingly's expectations

Injuries won't temper Mattingly's expectations

CINCINNATI -- The Dodgers entered play Saturday in fourth place, 6 1/2 games out of first, six games below .500 and under a siege of injuries.

But manager Don Mattingly said the club can still be competitive, he expects it to be, and apparently passed along that expectation to whatever players remained in a clubhouse meeting shortly before batting practice.

"I expect us to be competitive," said Mattingly. "We're going to get Juan [Uribe] back Monday. Marcus [Thames] is right around the corner."

That, however, would cut the names on the disabled list from 10 to eight. The Dodgers have already suffered 18 disabling injuries, putting them two months ahead of last year's pace. The current roster has nine players who have spent time in the Minor Leagues this year.

"Stuff happens all the time, to every club," said Mattingly. "Maybe we've had more than most clubs. Still, do you turn the page and say you can't win? No way you can play like that. We've got to believe we're going to win and play the type of baseball we know we can."

Mattingly wouldn't speculate on why the Dodgers have been buried by so many injuries, but he wouldn't accept the suggestion of divine punishment.

"I don't have an answer to that," he said. "I definitely don't think it's God not liking me. We can rule that one out. I think we've been prepared. Guys do their work. Injuries happen. It's one of these years."