In his rookie season as a manager, the plain-spoken former Yankees star led the Dodgers past a shaky start to a third-place finish in the National League West and has the club looking sharp again this spring.
What did you learn in your first year as a manager?
DON MATTINGLY: The biggest thing [I got out of it] was experience. I'm pretty laid back for the most part. There are times with guys you have to step out and say, Hey, this is not the way we're going to do it. You want everybody to like you, but you can't worry about that.
What do you think of adding a wild-card-playoff team in each league?
DM: I kind of like it. The one wild card puts that team in the same situation as any other team. When you go to two, you might have to use your best pitcher [in the elimination game] to get to the next round. If it's us, and we're a wild card, and [Clayton] Kershaw is available, I have to use him. Now I'm going into the playoffs against the team that won a division starting off with my Number 2 guy. And it could even be my Number 3 if I used Kershaw to get to that [elimination] game.
What was your reaction when Albert Pujols signed across town with the Angels?
DM: I was surprised. I'm from the Midwest, and I didn't really think he would leave. I didn't think they would allow him to leave.
Pujols signed a 10-year contract. Can he be effective even five years from now?