3/18/2014 5:01 A.M. ET
Figgins, Turner thrilled to join Dodgers
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SYDNEY -- Probably the two proudest Dodgers on the flight to Australia were new utility men Chone Figgins and Justin Turner, non-roster invitees whose contracts were purchased.
Figgins made the team after sitting out the 2013 season. Turner won a job after being released by the New York Mets in December.
"It's almost more gratifying than being called up to the big leagues," said Figgins, released twice in the last two years. "The last four years have been hard. I wouldn't say it was life changing, but it makes me appreciate the hard work. I was with my wife when I got the call from my agent, and it was emotional. She's seen me come home the last four or five years, watching video and not playing. Now she sees me smile again."
Figgins said one of the more gratifying messages came from Dodgers vice president Vance Lovelace, who scouted Figgins at what he called "a high school tryout" early this year and was instrumental in his signing.
"I also had a good conversation with [general manager] Ned Colletti," Figgins said. "He said congratulations and I said thank you, but the goal is not finished. I want to win a championship here."
Turner said he was equally proud of making the club, although he noted he's been in the "same position the last three or four years."
"This time my family is excited because I get to stay at home," said Turner, who went to Cal State Fullerton.
Mattingly may bat Gordon ninth, pitcher eighth
SYDNEY -- Manager Don Mattingly said he is considering batting speedster Dee Gordon ninth in the Dodgers' lineup instead of eighth in certain situations.
Mattingly has yet to name Gordon his starting second baseman, but all signs point to that. Mattingly previously has said he would prefer to bat Yasiel Puig in the leadoff spot to maximize his at-bats. When Puig led off this spring, Gordon batted eighth with the pitcher ninth.
But Mattingly said the staff has discussed the pros and cons of using Gordon ninth when the club starts an above-average hitting pitcher, like Zack Greinke. Gordon, who has demonstrated an improved swing this spring to go with nine steals in nine attempts, would be followed in the order by Puig instead of the pitcher.
Mattingly said the negative to batting Gordon ninth is concern with having the pitcher following the No. 7 hitter, who most likely would be his catcher, A.J. Ellis or Tim Federowicz.
"You have to think about protecting the seventh hitter," Mattingly said.
Greinke, Kemp continue making progress in Arizona
SYDNEY -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Tuesday gave upbeat reports on the work of Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp back in Arizona.
Greinke pitched four innings of one-hit, scoreless ball in the Minor League game against the Padres. Greinke, continuing to stretch out after suffering a mild right calf strain, is expected to be available for the Dodgers' first series stateside against the Padres if he has no setbacks, Mattingly said.
Kemp played four innings in center field in the game and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. Mattingly said he is not worried about the outfielder's lack of offense since he's been cleared to play the field and run the bases.
"I know he's thrown up some zeroes, but he should be fine," Mattingly said. "We like the way the ball was coming off the bat, better this spring than last. He doesn't have to try out."
Carl Crawford also played in the game and went 1-for-3 with a stolen base.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.