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GM Colletti sees plenty to like this spring

GM Colletti sees plenty to like this spring

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GM Colletti sees plenty to like this spring
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With two weeks to go before the Dodgers head back to California, general manager Ned Colletti likes what he sees, and not just in wins, losses and ties (8-4-4).

"This has been one of the best camps to date I've seen," said Colletti, entering his seventh season with the club. "I don't know what it is, but the games have been played well for this time of year and there's been extra focus. It could be the competition. People are cognizant of the fact that just because you start the season with 25 players, it doesn't mean that the roster isn't fluid."

Colletti often talks about his club's "presentation," loosely defined as the combination of mental and physical execution. So far, so good.

"We're going to have to play clean and smart this year," he said. "The execution of the pitches as well as not giving away at-bats, and defense is always a primary area that we have to be good at.

"Historically, this division plays close games. We really have to be keen on execution, and we've seen that this spring. When I talk about presentation, that's what I mean."

Colletti said it's still too early to pinpoint an area of enough concern to look for an upgrade by trade before Opening Day. Not to mention, the Dodgers are waiting until the bankruptcy sale is completed at the end of April before making additional expenditures.

"We need bounce-back years from Juan Uribe, a full season from James Loney and a healthy Andre Ethier," he said. "Ethier has as great a camp as I can remember. Juan and James have been fine. And we need Chad Billingsley to be that complement behind Clayton Kershaw. The bullpen, we need to keep it healthy and we'll have some depth and competition there."

Entering Sunday's games, the Dodgers were second in National League batting average (.289), third in team ERA (3.41) and had the fourth fewest errors committed.

Manager Don Mattingly echoed his boss' view.

"I'm not a gusher. I don't say how great we're going to be," said Mattingly. "But we have a pretty realistic chance to be a pretty good club and accomplish a lot of things. I don't feel we have a lot of room for error. We'll play a lot of close games. Things have got to go our way and guys have to stay on the field. We can't have our key guys go down.

"But as a group, I'm confident they're after the right thing. We all want to win, but they're playing like they want to win."

Mattingly said the club's second Spring Training under his command is a reflection of his second Spring Training in charge.

"I'm more settled and the team seems more settled," he said. "They know who I am, how we need to play and what kind of team we are. Our work seems to have a pretty good purpose to it and we're focused on what we want to accomplish."

Mattingly often refers to the Angels and their manager, Mike Scioscia, as an organization the Dodgers can emulate as far as how it teaches its players to play the game.

Adam Kennedy, who played seven seasons for Scioscia and won a World Series championship in Anaheim, said it's a worthwhile model.

"This team seems to be on that path," said Kennedy, who doubled and scored the only Dodgers run against the Angels Sunday. "It's a different league, and the way the lineup rolls around is different.

"A big difference is we didn't have an MVP-type [Matt Kemp] and a Cy Young winner [Kershaw] in Anaheim. It took pretty much everybody, it always does. It's nice to have Matty and Clayton on each side.

"One thing that's evident with [the Angels] is the constant flow of talent. They let free agents go and keep coming up with good players. The two guys up the middle [Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick], offensively and defensively, could be the best in baseball."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["spring_training" ] }
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