Dodgers manager Don Mattingly reiterated Saturday that Luis Cruz will get the first shot at being the team's everyday third baseman this spring.
But that didn't stop Mattingly from talking with Scott Rolen to feel out the possibility of adding the free agent as a veteran option. Mattingly confirmed the Dodgers have had internal discussions about that possibility and he reached out to the fellow Indiana native a few weeks ago in a preliminary attempt to gauge Rolen's interest.
"Ned (Colletti, Dodgers GM) mentioned him to me and I talked to him," Mattingly said Saturday during the team's Fan Fest event at Dodger Stadium. "I can't really speak for him (Rolen). We just talked about what we were thinking, what we were looking at. I don't think anybody thought of him being available until a few weeks ago."
The assumption has been that Rolen, 37, was ready to retire after an injury-interrupted 2012 season — and wouldn't be interested in playing for anyone but the Cincinnati Reds if he did decide to return in 2013. But he has yet to make any announcement about his plans.
"I didn't really try to get into it," Mattingly said of asking Rolen directly about his decision. "I just talked to him about the possibility if you don't go back there ... if it ends up being he doesn't go back to Cincinnati, then that's when we'd talk (about his interest in signing with the Dodgers)."
A seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, Rolen has played fewer than 100 games in each of the past two seasons because of recurring injuries (primarily shoulder and back). He hit .245 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs in 92 games for the Reds last season. The Reds plan to move on with Todd Frazier as their primary third baseman in 2013, though GM Walt Jocketty said recently he has continued to keep in contact with Rolen about the possibility of playing this year.
Cruz to get first shot at third, Dodgers talking to Rolen
The Press-Enterprise | Jan 27