News came down yesterday that Ivan DeJesus is not only a lock to make the team (barring injury), but he'd get the nod over Jamey Carroll at second base for the Dodgers.
This is not only surprising but quite refreshing. For far too long, the Dodgers have gone with the "proven" veteran over the fresh-faced rookie. Players such as Luis Gonzalez (over Andre Ethier) and Nomar Garciaparra (over James Loney) come to mind. It appears manager Don Mattingly is willing to change that notion.
DeJesus didn't get off to the best start this spring, as I didn't even include him in my most recent "25th man" post. But he has really picked it up as of late and caught Mattingly's attention.
If you needed more proof that the Dodgers are employing a new philosophy, Ron Mahay was granted his release today. This move paves the way for Scott Elbert to be the second lefty out of the bullpen.
In my 25-man roster prediction, I had Mahay over Elbert because of, say it with me, "veteran goodness." Well, Mahay had an out clause in his contract, meaning if the Dodgers didn't put him on the Opening Day roster by Friday, he was to be released.
The Dodgers are putting their faith in a guy who has walked nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring. On the flip side, he has struck out seven and has been much better of late. Elbert has always had the ability to be a dominant reliever -- it was just a matter of him throwing strikes on a consistent basis.
The fact that Mattingly seems to be open to playing young guys over veterans is exciting. That doesn't mean he should be rushing Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands or Trayvon Robinson to the big leagues, but it does show he's not opposed to doing the right thing -- baseball wise.