- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly said he slept soundly for his usual five hours on the night before his first game as a major league manager. Sitting in the Los Angeles Dodgers' dugout shortly before the team's season opener with the San Francisco Giants, he said his nerves were surprisingly calm following a spring training in which he and his coaching staff believed they laid the groundwork for a successful debut season.
"I'm definitely excited," Mattingly said. "I feel a little better than I thought I would, honestly. I thought I would be a little bit more on edge about it. [But] if you're not nervous or a little edgy, there is something wrong."
Mattingly had so many friends and family members coming into town from Indiana for the opener -- he estimated it was 20-30 -- that he rented a luxury suite at Dodger Stadium for them. He arrived at the ballpark around 10 a.m., seven hours before first pitch, and seemed perfectly relaxed during his usual meeting with reporters.
Mattingly said he had received a lot of text messages and even phone calls in recent days -- "I would prefer they just text me today, because I don't have time to talk on the phone," he said -- and that one of those calls he received came from his predecessor, Joe Torre, who now works in the commissioner's office.
"Joe called me the other day, before he left for Hawaii," Mattingly said. "He wished me luck, but first he wanted to scold me for what happened against the Padres the other day."
Infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. said the first phone call he made after being told late Wednesday night that he had made the club -- the Dodgers' second-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft and the first pick the team was able to actually sign from that draft will be making his major league debut --- was to his father, longtime major league shortstop and current Cubs third-base coach Ivan DeJesus.
"That was a really good phone call," DeJesus said. "He was so happy. He just told me about what to expect. I have been working so hard for so long to get here. It's a fun day for me and for all the people back home [in Puerto Rico]."
On the way
Mattingly echoed a comment pitching coach Rick Honeycutt made last week indicating that top pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa could be closer to the majors than anyone anticipated. De La Rosa, who no-hit the Giants' major league lineup for four innings on March 18, followed that up with 5 2/3 shutout innings that included six strikeouts -- two of them against Ichiro Suzuki -- in Wednesday night's Cactus League finale.
De La Rosa will begin the season at Double-A Chattanooga.
"If he keeps throwing like that, they will not be able to keep him from being right here," Mattingly said.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
The rookie manager seem adjusted and prepared for the season and a career.