Dodgers manager Don Mattingly figured this wasn't the day for any big speeches. "Gotta save my bullets," Mattingly said as Dodgers pitchers and catchers took the field for the first workout of spring training Wednesday morning. "I've only got so many of those in me. I'll wait until everybody's here." That will be Saturday when the most expensive team in baseball history has the most expensive full-squad workout in baseball history. The financial theme in that sentence will not be the elephant in the room when Mattingly addresses his full roster for the first time. He plans to challenge his team to meet the expectations that come with the Dodgers' high payroll. "I don't have my head buried in the sand. I know people expect us to win," he said. "I also have been around long enough to know we're in a division with the team that won the championship two of the past three years. We know the Diamondbacks are a good club. The Rockies and Padres have a chance to be good clubs. "All these expectations are just noise to me and noise to our club. 'We should win the World Series' and this and that. That's all fine. That's all good. But it's my job to cut out all the noise and get this team prepared to play. In that sense, it doesn't change." Nonetheless, Mattingly said he fully expects the Dodgers to have targets on their backs this season with every team they face looking to take their multi-millionaires down a peg. "I feel like that, yeah," he said. "I feel like that's something that's going to be there. Why deny it? Why run away from it? It's going to be there." GM Ned Colletti agreed that the high-profile moves of the past year have created great expectations. But, like Mattingly, he said that won't change what is needed from the Dodger players. "I think they come here with a different excitement attached to them at how special this can be and really how special it has become in less than a calendar year," Colletti said. "But nothing's given to you. We're going to have to approach and think better than everybody we play. We're going to have to execute better than everybody we play. And we're going to have to compete better than everybody we play. That's just sports. It doesn't really matter what your payroll is or how many All-Star Games you've been to or anything like that. That's just sports."
Dodgers pitchers, catchers begin trying to fulfill expectations
Orange County Register | Feb 14