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Signs point to Gordon leading off, starting at second

SYDNEY -- Don Mattingly hasn't officially announced his starting lineup for the first game of the Opening Series, but the one he put on the field for Thursday's exhibition game against Team Australia will probably be repeated when the Dodgers face the D-backs on Saturday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Dee Gordon led off and played second base, a job he apparently won with a more impressive transition from shortstop than Cuban signee Alex Guerrero. Right fielder Yasiel Puig batted second, even though Mattingly said early in spring he's intrigued by the idea of Puig leading off.

The lineup also had Scott Van Slyke in left field, where he's filling in for Carl Crawford. Mattingly said Crawford's shoulder issue has cleared, he doesn't have the flu and he will return to Minor League games Thursday. Still no word on the anticipated birth of his child, which put him on the paternity list and off the flight here.

Mattingly said he would manage the exhibition like a "regular game because we don't have enough replacements. Somebody has to play. I'd like to get Van Slyke the last couple innings at first base."

Both teams were restricted to bringing only 30 players on the trip.

Mattingly said he would use as few relievers as possible so his bullpen was fresh for the two games that count.

"We've had good bullpens, doing what we can to keep them sharp," he said. "I don't want to get to Saturday and Sunday and have guys that aren't available. Our hands are tied with the number of guys available."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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