LOS ANGELES -- General manager Ned Colletti said manager Don Mattingly will return to the Dodgers next season, according to reports on ESPNLosAngeles.com and the Los Angeles Times.
The Dodgers raced out of the gates to open the season and were one of baseball's most surprising stories in the first half. However, despite undergoing a massive roster overhaul that brought in All-Stars Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Josh Beckett, the team has struggled in the second half.
Mattingly's contract expires at the end of next season. The former Yankees first baseman and Dodgers hitting coach replaced Joe Torre after the 2010 season and he led the team to an 82-79 record last year. The Dodgers entered Friday with a 74-70 record and two games behind the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot and 7 1/2 behind the Giants in the NL West.
"I think he's done a really good job of keeping it together and there's never an excuse. He doesn't give any and he doesn't take any," Colletti told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I don't have any doubt that our efforts every day are there, and I think that's one of the main jobs of a manager, to make sure guys are into it."
'Cleanup' surgery on shoulder to end Lilly's year
LOS ANGELES -- Any hopes of Ted Lilly coming back as a reliever this season are no more as the team announced the veteran will have arthroscopic left shoulder surgery on Sept. 21.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery, which team trainer Sue Falsone called "a simple cleanup procedure."
Falsone said wear and tear and degeneration caused the need for the surgery, but she was optimistic it wouldn't need any major repair. She said Lilly can start throwing in a few months and he should be ready for Spring Training.
Lilly, who was 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts before going down, is signed through 2013 after agreeing to a three-year, $33 million deal in 2010. He has been out since May 24 with left shoulder inflammation, and back pain stalled any sort of comeback as a reliever for September. The team held off surgery as long as possible, but it got to a point where it was too late for Lilly to return.
The 36-year-old starter previously underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in November 2009.
Another injured Dodgers starter, Chad Billingsley, who has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, is doing significantly better, Falsone said. The team will wait another week before he starts tossing and then go "extremely slow" with his progression.
Jansen cleared to return to action on Tuesday
LOS ANGELES -- Kenley Jansen will officially be available to pitch Tuesday with the Dodgers closer taking the blood-thinning medication for his irregular heartbeat for the last time Friday. It takes two days for the medication to clear his system, which sets Jansen up to be able to pitch when the Dodgers take on the Nationals after Monday's off-day.
Manager Don Mattingly said he's been pleased with Brandon League's performance as the closer with Jansen sidelined, so he plans to ease the righty into action without throwing him into a pressure save situation.
Jansen said he's not afraid and willing to do whatever his manager asks of him.
"If he wants to give me the ball in the ninth, I'm ready to do it," he said. "I'm built for it. I will fight for it. I will do everything to help this team, whether it's in the seventh, eighth or ninth."
The closer will continue taking aspirin regularly and he said he will have cardiac ablation surgery in the offseason that shouldn't keep him from Spring Training.
More help looks to be on the way with Scott Elbert expected to come back Tuesday, as well. The lefty, who has been out with left elbow inflammation, threw a simulated game Friday and he will throw another one on Sunday.
Shortstop Gordon gets in work at second base
LOS ANGELES -- After starting the season as the everyday shortstop and filling that role until the beginning of July, Dee Gordon finds himself out of the Dodgers' lineup with Hanley Ramirez taking over his old position and Luis Cruz nestled in at third.
On Friday, Gordon practiced extensively at second base before batting practice, one day after working on double-play situations from second. However, manager Don Mattingly said not to read into the extra practice as the team hasn't talked about Gordon playing second base.
"I haven't heard anything about Dee playing second," said Mattingly, who has an everyday second baseman in Mark Ellis. "I think Dee is wanting to take some ground balls over there."
Gordon missed more than two months with a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, and he was activated on Sept. 11. Ramirez is signed through 2014, which puts the speedy Gordon in a bind if the former Marlin stays at short and doesn't move back to third now that Cruz has become a fixture in the lineup.
Dodgers fly flag at half-staff to honor terrorist victims
LOS ANGELES -- The American flag will be flown at half-staff at Dodger Stadium this weekend in memory of the four State Department personnel killed in a terrorist attack on the American consulate in Libya late Tuesday.
Commissioner Bud Selig requested all clubs lower the flag in support of the president's proclamation to honor the slain Americans -- U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department official Sean Smith and security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Their bodies were returned to the United States on Friday.
The presidential order applies to all U.S. military posts, diplomatic sites abroad and ships at sea, and will remain in force until sunset on Sunday. The order is not binding on private businesses, but Selig took the action to demonstrate the game's support of the president's request.
Manager Don Mattingly shuffled his lineup yet again with the Dodgers scoring only 14 runs in their last eight games. After being moved to the No. 6 spot, Shane Victorino was penciled in as the leadoff hitter Friday with Mark Ellis getting the day off. Andre Ethier remained in the No. 2 hole with Nick Punto filling in for Ellis.
Mattignly said he expects to go back with Ellis leading off Saturday, followed by Victorino and Ethier back in the No. 6 spot with Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia on the mound.