LOS ANGELES -- Any time a major piece is added to a team there are concerns with how it will affect the clubhouse and chemistry. Well, the Dodgers are five weeks from the end of the season, and they just added three major pieces (although one, Carl Crawford, won't debut until 2013) that happen to come with some baggage.
But even with what he called a rock-star lineup, manager Don Mattingly isn't worried about that.
"A lot of people say that chemistry comes with winning," he said. "When you have a club that is winning, playing good baseball, then guys are having fun. Anytime things get testy in the clubhouse, it's when things are going in that direction."
That was the case in Boston, where the Red Sox underachieved as one of baseball's biggest disappointments this season after last year's September collapse.
As Mattingly has said throughout the non-waiver Trade Deadline when the team added major parts like Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino, the key is to just stick to the basics and get things done on the field. No matter how many All-Stars are on the team, the objective remains the same and chemistry will fall into place if the players perform.
In terms of any cracks in the clubhouse, he said it's up to him and the coaches to create a positive atmosphere and build a trust with the new players. That doesn't just happen overnight.
Mattingly said certain players, like Mark Ellis, are low maintenance. On the other end, there are guys who need more attention, and part of his job is to figure out how to manage them.
"The key is respecting what they do and what we do," Mattingly said. "We're dealing with men. It's not like we are dealing with kids that you can just tell what to do. There are relationships that are always being built and trust between coaches and the players."
Adrian Gonzalez clashed with manager Bobby Valentine while with the Red Sox and Josh Beckett was often under fire from the Boston media, which questioned his character and commitment on multiple occasions.
Both players said they are ready for the change of scenery and fresh start. Mattingly is confident the clubhouse will be just fine down the stretch.
"To me, I never expect problems," Mattingly said.
"I don't go into it thinking this is going to be bad. I'm not really worried about anything that could go wrong."
Billingsley must wait before more testing on elbow
LOS ANGELES -- It will be another week before Dodgers righty Chad Billingsley gets another MRI as team doctors are waiting for the inflammation in his elbow to calm down to get a better look, manager Don Mattingly said.
The first round of MRIs were just to make sure there was nothing seriously "messed up," as Mattingly said, and they revealed just that. However, those MRIs did show a trip to the 15-day disabled list for the second time since July would be necessary, and Billingsley was put on it Saturday.
Mattingly said now it's just a matter of waiting as the first tests didn't show anything clear-cut, and he's not sure if the righty will be out for 15 days or more.
Before being taken out of his start on Friday in the fourth inning, Billingsley had gone 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his six starts since the All-Star break after coming off the DL.
He is being replaced by Josh Beckett in the rotation, and the newly acquired righty will pitch Monday in Colorado. As for when Billingsley comes off the DL, Mattingly wouldn't commit to what his rotation would look like with six starters on the roster.
Dodgers like what Beckett brings to rotation
LOS ANGELES -- A look at the recent numbers and it's hard to get excited about the newest Dodgers starting pitcher, Josh Beckett.
Look at his body of work over his entire career and it's a different story.
Beckett, 32, who will make his team debut on Monday in Colorado, is far from the pitcher he once was.
He comes to the Dodgers with a 5-11 record and a 5.23 ERA thanks to a rough August (0-2, 9.92 ERA in three starts). But he's one year removed from going 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and he has a career record of 130-92 with a 3.93 ERA and a reputation as one of the game's best big-game pitchers. He is 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA in the playoffs and 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA in three World Series starts, with an MVP award to his credit.
The righty is well aware he's not the pitcher he once was, but he is confident his numbers this year will only improve.
"I don't think anyone has the same stuff at 21 and 32," he said. "You just learn how to make different adjustments. I think you learn how to do that when you are younger, as well. Even when you do throw hard, you have to throw more strikes, locate and be down in the zone. It's an ongoing thing."
He said even if you still throw 97 mph, there is always a need to make those adjustments with the rest of the league always adjusting, too.
The veteran righty isn't the only one confident he'll turn things around. Dodgers management, from the front office to Don Mattingly, is convinced he can deliver in Los Angeles and that there is nothing wrong with his mechanics.
"Josh has thrown a lot of innings," Mattingly said. "He's going to have some issues going on. The stuff is probably not going to be like what it was when he was 23 or 24. When you look at Josh, he has always been able to throw the ball where he wants. When you can locate, you can get people out.
"Is he the same guy? No, and we know that. But we're getting a pretty good pitcher."
Left-hander Ted Lilly, on the disabled list since May with shoulder inflammation, is supposed to throw in a rehab assignment Monday, but manager Don Mattingly said the veteran didn't look good physically earlier in the day on Sunday, so he thinks Lilly probably won't throw Monday. Mattingly wasn't positive, but he thought it was Lilly's back that was giving him pain.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.