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Dodgers blend Major, Minor Leaguers in camp

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the 68 Dodgers in Major League camp hit the field for conditioning drills on Tuesday morning, they were joined by 53 of the organization's best Minor Leaguers who had been invited to early camp.

If oldtimers saw it as a rare throwback to the days when hundreds of campers, from Major Leaguers to Class D, would train together on the fields of Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., that was pretty much the idea.

"That was our plan, integrating the camp and getting everybody working together," said manager Don Mattingly. "We're all one, that's the main theme. We're trying to build the system back.

"We can bring in all the big guys at once like we have and make a big, bold splash, but in the long run ... we want to win every year. To do that, that [developmental] side has to be strong. To do that, we've got to be close. So if you're one of those guys and you know you're not that far away, it's a good thing."

Mattingly said that several veteran Dodgers will be sent to the Minor League side to talk to the players. That series is expected to begin on Wednesday with pitcher Clayton Kershaw.