PHOENIX -- In a move that was significant not so much on its merits as it was for who was involved, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded minor league outfielder Preston Mattingly to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday for outfielder Roman Pena.
Mattingly, 23, is the son of Dodgers hitting coach and manager-in-waiting Don Mattingly. He was the Dodgers' first-round sandwich pick (31st overall) in the 2006 amateur draft, the club's third selection in a year when it had three of the first 31 picks in a draft that also yielded Clayton Kershaw.
Mattingly hit .194 this season, his second in a row at Class A Inland Empire, but he was limited to 24 games there because of a right-hamstring injury that flared up twice and resulted in his ending the season rehabilitating at the Dodgers' spring-training complex in Glendale, Ariz. Mattingly has a .232 career average in five minor league seasons.
DeJon Watson, the Dodgers' assistant general manager for player development who made the trade, said Mattingly should get more of an opportunity in the Indians system.
"It wasn't so much that it didn't work out for the kid," Watson said. "He just needs time to make some of the adjustments he needs to make."
Pena, 24, batted .148 for the Indians' Class A Kinston affiliate this season, his fifth in the minors since Cleveland drafted him in the ninth round in 2005. Like former Dodgers infielder Oscar Robles, Pena grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. Also like Robles, he attended Montgomery High School in Chula Vista, a suburb of San Diego.
Don Mattingly said he was happy for his son.
"I have talked to him, and he is excited," Don said after the Dodgers' 5-4 loss at Arizona on Sunday. "For me, I'm thankful to the organization. He had kind of fallen off in his playing time this year and really wasn't getting to play a lot. To do this for him at this time was really significant for him, and he is young enough that he still thinks he can play and he wants to go prove that."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.