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Experience at first bodes well for Van Slyke

Experience at first bodes well for Van Slyke play video for Experience at first bodes well for Van Slyke

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Don Mattingly stopped short of guaranteeing Scott Van Slyke an Opening Day roster spot, but the 27-year-old corner outfielder and backup first baseman could take comfort in the manager's Sunday comments.

"He did a lot for us last year. It's what we looked for last year; we came into Spring Training looking for that right-handed extra outfielder that could spell us in different spots," Mattingly said. "He seemed to step up and take over that role."

Mattingly said he would look to give Adrian Gonzalez a few extra days off during the season. Often that will come against a tough lefty, which Van Slyke handled last year.

"Scott fits there; he fits for giving Carl [Crawford] a day and Andre [Ethier] a day now and then," Mattingly said.

Van Slyke, who hit .240 with seven home runs in 53 Major League games a year ago, is the only player on the 40-man roster besides Gonzalez with significant experience at first base, and he played first in Sunday's intrasquad game. Non-roster invitees Brendan Harris, Justin Turner and Miguel Rojas have seen very limited action there during their careers.

Chris Gabel 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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