LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson entered the clubhouse Sunday morning, looking like he just left a Grateful Dead concert. He wore a purple knit cap atop his jet-black hair, with a few loosely fastened dreadlocks flowing out the sides.
Juan Uribe and Hanley Ramirez burst out in laughter as Wilson strutted across the room, dropping a few barbs along the way. Wilson didn’t let those remarks sink in long before shooting back at Uribe, reminding him of the purple slacks he wore to Saturday’s game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to sport a new look on a daily basis, and lately, that’s included a few new faces. Wilson made his Dodgers debut last week, giving the bullpen another veteran arm with World Series experience, as well as some personality to an already quirky locker room.
On Saturday night it was Michael Young who joined the fold. The veteran infielder was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for a minor league pitcher, giving the Dodgers another player with World Series experience, a batting title, a Gold Glove and seven All-Star appearances -- one of which led to the MVP award in the 2006 game.
There were a few furrowed brows when Young’s trade was announced, however.
After all, the Dodgers went 23-6 in August and have been satisfied with the play of Uribe at third base, the position Young has mainly played the past few seasons. The same can be said for second base, where Mark Ellis has been solid when healthy. Nick Punto has also done a stellar job occupying a utility role among the infielders.
The person responsible for integrating another new player into the mix, manager Don Mattingly, didn’t seem too concerned with that task prior to Sunday’s series finale against the visiting San Diego Padres.
“We’re not trying to bring Michael in here to knock Adrian [Gonzalez] off first base,” Mattingly said. “Michael’s here to add to our club, to give us added depth, give us a guy that can do a lot of things.”
Mattingly said he spoke with Young after the trade and “just wanted to make sure this wasn’t something that turned him upside down.”
“We’re not getting a young kid in the prime of his career, and I say that with all due respect,” Mattingly said. “This guy has had a career that he has done a lot of things, but he’s at a point also in his career where you understand where you’re at. We’re going to treat him with respect, make sure I’m honest with him about everything and just see where it goes.”
No need to rush Kemp: Mattingly said he spoke with recuperating outfielder Matt Kemp on Saturday night following his third consecutive hitless game with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Kemp, who is attempting to return from an ankle injury, is 0-for-11 in three games with Rancho Cucamonga, striking out four times and hitting into two double plays. He has hit one ball out of the infield.
With Kemp struggling and the Dodgers playing so well, Mattingly said there’s no rush to bring him back up with the big club.
“When he steps back up with us, we want to make sure he’s feeling good,” Mattingly said. “I know he doesn’t feel good yet at the plate, so he’s not pushing saying, ‘I want to be there tomorrow,’ or anything else. He’s going to play today [at Rancho Cucamonga]. The thought is, he’s going to continue to play, we just don’t know the logistics of all that.”
Here are the lineups for Sunday’s game against the Padres: