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04/30/12 8:00 PM ET

Mattingly says goodbye to McCourt

DENVER -- Don Mattingly said goodbye to Frank McCourt Saturday when the outgoing owner of the Dodgers made a final pass through the clubhouse area.

"He just said goodbye," Mattingly said. "He seemed kind of down, really. Things obviously worked out financially, but didn't turn out for what he came for. In the end, you want to win a championship."

McCourt gave Mattingly the chance to manage, three years after the Yankees legend was passed over by his former club, which hired Joe Girardi. Now Mattingly, in his second season, has the Dodgers in first place.

Asked if he was glad the club was on the road with the $2.15 billion sale about to be completed, Mattingly for the umpteenth time insisted that the off-field drama hasn't impacted his club on the field.

"They've been pretty good so far with all of it," he said. "It shouldn't have that much effect on us. I've been saying it all along. But the biggest thing for us [with the sale] is the energy from the fans. They've been energetic and have turned out. The fact that we've played well is important, too, but there's been positive energy this year."

Mattingly has said that one noticeable negative last year with the ownership drama was the lack of leadership at the top.

"You're a player and you say, you're just playing, oh, they're the owners, we've got to do it down here. But there is a force up above, I think -- you know the players, the manager, the general manager -- that says, we're going here. And that's the ownership," he said over the winter. "And that's the one thing I really felt like the first time I really had an understanding of that force that I think that ownership causes, because it's a driving force that says we're going here. This is our mission. This is how we're going to get there. You guys are entrusted to make that happen, but this is where we're going. ...

"I know there was a lot of trouble with everything that was going on, and Mr. McCourt didn't want to be a distraction by being down in the clubhouse or any of that type of thing. And he had a lot to deal with, obviously, and obviously it's still going on. But I think that's what we missed last year more than anything is that driving force that says we're going here as an organization.

"You feel like there has to be -- there's something that's pushing the ship. And that's what I felt like we missed last year ... that push that says we're going here. We're going to keep making decisions, we're going to keep moving in that direction."

Lindblom making most of time in bullpen

DENVER -- Josh Lindblom made the Opening Day roster only because of Ted Lilly's neck injury, but he's now become a key setup man in the Dodgers bullpen with the subsequent injury to Matt Guerrier.

Lindblom has the third-lowest ERA in the National League at 0.66 and has appeared in half of the Dodgers' 22 games.

Although his effectiveness is a continuation of his solid debut in the second half last year (2.73 ERA in 27 games), that wasn't enough to stop management from going the veteran route in the winter by signing free agents Todd Coffey and Jamey Wright with the anticipated losses of Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo.

Although the sample size is small, Lindblom has shown dramatic improvement against left-handed hitters, who batted .370 against him in 27 at-bats last year and .158 in 19 at-bats this year.

"He barely makes the club and ends up the long man, and now he's getting quality outs in the eighth after we lose Guerrier," said manager Don Mattingly. "He just attacks the zone. He gave up a home run the other night, and the next three guys he went right after them. He's pitching with confidence. He's a smart guy who can throw strikes. He follows a game plan. We know who to get people out, but you've got to get the ball there and he can."

Rivera ready to return to action

DENVER -- Juan Rivera was out of the Dodgers' lineup for a fifth consecutive game Monday night, but manager Don Mattingly said Rivera is almost completely healed from a slight hamstring strain.

Rivera was injured running out an infield single on Tuesday night.

"He's better and Sue [Falsone, trainer] said we can use him any way we want tonight," said Mattingly. "We've got more of the guy tonight, but we'll just be cautious. We'll see tomorrow, he could be full go."

A likely return date could be Wednesday, as the Rockies will pitch left-hander Drew Pomeranz, and Rivera could start at first base for James Loney. Coors Field's spacious left field might be a tough assignment for an outfielder returning from a hamstring injury.

Regardless of when he returns, Mattingly said Rivera's swing could be challenged from a week away from game-speed pitching.

"Any time you miss extended days, you don't know how he'll swing the bat when he comes back," said Mattingly. "Especially early in the season, it seems it's harder. But we'll see."

Dodgers activate Coffey from disabled list

DENVER -- The Dodgers on Monday activated right-handed reliever Todd Coffey off the 15-day disabled list. They made room for Coffey's activation by optioning pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to Double-A Chattanooga after Sunday's game.

Coffey, who has a 36.00 ERA, was disabled with what the club announced as right knee inflammation.

He pitched twice for Class A Rancho Cucamonga in an injury rehab assignment last week.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.