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Mattingly: Paco among 'best lefties in baseball' in '13

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Don Mattingly left a weary Paco Rodriguez off the NL Championship Series roster last October, but that doesn't mean he'll leave the lefty off the Opening Day roster next month.

"He was one of the best lefties in baseball last year. He got lefties and righties out. Without Paco last year, we're in trouble," said Mattingly. "He just ran out of steam. He was used in a lot of appearances. To me, he's right back on track. There's no reason not to be confident. The guy's got weapons."

And the Dodgers have a potential numbers crunch in the bullpen if everybody's healthy. The presence of left-hander Paul Maholm has led to speculation that Rodriguez could be on the bubble. If Maholm doesn't displace fifth starter Josh Beckett, Maholm has a guaranteed contract and could pitch in relief, while Rodriguez still has Minor League options.

"Paco has shown his value," said Mattingly. "He's not a guy who had a good year at Triple-A. He had a good year in the big leagues."

The 22-year-old Rodriguez finished the season with a 2.32 ERA and .164 opponents batting average.

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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