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NLCS notes: Dodgers GM happy for success of Rays' Navarro

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti went with Russell Martin, above, as catcher, trading Dioner Navarro to the Rays in June 2006.

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Dodgers GM Ned Colletti went with Russell Martin, above, as catcher, trading Dioner Navarro to the Rays in June 2006.

PHILADELPHIA — When trying to build the Dodgers into a winner three seasons ago, GM Ned Colletti had two young All-Star-caliber catchers, but only one could be anointed the team's backstop of the future.

The Dodgers chose Russell Martin over Dioner Navarro, trading the then 22-year-old to the Rays in June 2006 as part of a five-player deal.

Martin, the Dodgers' cleanup hitter, has been to two All-Star Games since.

And after a tough introduction as an everyday major-league catcher, Navarro blossomed into an All-Star this season and has been a key part of the Rays' worst-to-first turnaround.

"We thought both of those players had a chance to be good players," Colletti said. "The thing (Navarro) was missing was experience. Our club had to almost win immediately, and we had to find ways to show we could."

Colletti has seen Navarro's maturation from afar and said he got what he needed in Tampa Bay — time and patience to develop.

"Maybe it was the dynamic of our club at that time, but what he shows now when I watch him on television in leadership and in calling a game, he was a little bit behind at that point in his career," Colletti said.

"I'm really happy for him, and I pull for him all the time."

Home cooking: Phillies RHP Brett Myers, the team's scheduled starter for Game 2, has been much better at home (7-5, 3.01 ERA) than on the road (3-8, 6.21). "I think it kind of sets him off," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the home crowd. "He knows they're pulling for him, and he hears the noise. I think that helps make him better."

L.A. shores pen: Dodgers manager Joe Torre was so pleased with the way future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux pitched out of the bullpen in the NLDS against the Cubs that he used him Thursday in relief — the right-hander threw a scoreless seventh. Torre will likely keep him in that role instead of using him in a spot start in Game 4.

"I think that his personality and lack of ego getting in the way has certainly been a blessing for me," Torre said. "He's ready in six or seven pitches."

Odds and ends: Takashi Saito, the Dodgers' saves leader, was left off the NLCS roster because he has struggled with his mechanics since coming off the DL. That leaves Jonathan Broxton to close but allowed the Dodgers to activate lefty Hong-Chih Kuo, a valuable asset against the Phillies' left-handed heavy lineup. … Philadel­phia fans can be unforgiving, but they gave ex-Phillies manager and player Larry Bowa, the Dodgers' first-base coach, a rousing ovation during introductions.

NLCS notes: Dodgers GM happy for success of Rays' Navarro 10/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:20pm]
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