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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."

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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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