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Spring Swing: Don Mattingly gets ‘gregarious,’ talks about his braces

David Brown
Big League Stew

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had been discussing the prospects of James Loney becoming a batting champion when the conversation with reporters turned. Showing a big grin that revealed a set of braces that sometimes affected his speech, Mattingly gave a good-natured ribbing to Los Angeles Times reporter Dylan Hernandez.

Mattingly, entering his second full season as skipper, was making an effort to show a little more personality. Perhaps he was filling the void left by Ozzie Guillen, whose former team the White Sox also train at Camelback Ranch.

Is that right, Donnie Baseball?

While knowing what "gregarious" means might be overrated (even though he was kidding), actually acting gregarious can be a plus over the long, long haul of the baseball season.

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The Dodgers and White Sox opened their Cactus League schedules Monday, with Robin Ventura making his managing debut for Chicago. Dodgers blog True Blue LA, covering the team daily at Camelback, has the details of a 6-4 Los Angeles victory. It included a long home run by Scott Van Slyke — a son of Andy Van Slyke — and a strong two innings by right-hander Chad Billingsley.

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(Big League Stew)

The grapefruit tree in the foreground reportedly was transplanted from Vero Beach, Fla., where the Dodgers used to spring before moving west. Let's see them try to transplant an Arizona cactus to old Dodgertown!

Spring Training has arrived! Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave and engage The Stew on Facebook for your fill of Grapefruit and Cactus!

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