Dioner Navarro ousted for work ethic?
LOS ANGELES -- Dioner Navarro's ouster from the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week was hastened by a failure to devote the requisite time to game preparation that is expected of a catcher, multiple sources said before Friday night's game against the Colorado Rockies. Navarro was designated for assignment on Tuesday, giving the Dodgers 10 days from that point to trade him, release him or outright him to the minors after he clears waivers.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who at the time of the move cited "philosophical differences" as the reason, elaborated on what led to the move.
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"It's not a big thing, really," Mattingly said. "We just didn't feel like D fit into what we're trying to do. I don't want to badmouth D because I like D. He didn't give us any problems in the locker room, and he didn't cause us any (other) problems. But I'm a guy who believes in work. It's very simple. I believe you have to work, work, work."
Mattingly acknowledged that he had asked Navarro to improve in whatever area he felt was lacking and that Navarro's failure to do so led to the decision. Mattingly also said the decision might have been made earlier if the team's other catcher, Rod Barajas, hadn't spent the final month of the first half on the disabled list.
"For us, it was time," Mattingly said. "For what we're asking guys to do to go about the business of winning, (Navarro) just didn't fit. ... It was a combination of things. I don't really want to get into everything with D, but we talked about some of the issues we had a while back. At some point, it's just time."
The aforementioned sources said Navarro would arrive at the ballpark around the same time as most of the other players every day, but that catchers are expected to arrive early because they play such an important role in mapping out a game plan with that day's starting pitcher.
The Dodgers signed Navarro as a free agent last winter, giving him a one-year, $1 million contract, just after he was non-tendered by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Dodgers had traded Navarro to the Rays midway through the 1996 season, and he became an All-Star in 2008, the same season he helped the Rays reach the World Series. After that, though, his offensive performance plummeted, as he hit .218 in 2009, .194 in 2010 and .193 for the Dodgers this year.
Navarro did hit five homers for the Dodgers, including two that represented the only run in two different 1-0 victories.
Meanwhile, Dodgers rookie shortstop Dee Gordon, who has been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 12 with a bruised right shoulder, tentatively is scheduled to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Sunday and could be activated as soon as Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres. However, the timing of that rehab depends on how well Gordon responds to being pushed hard by the medical staff during pregame warm-ups on Friday and Saturday.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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