BALTIMORE - When the Baltimore Orioles open tonight's three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Orioles manager Buck Showalter will oppose one of his former players. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly played under Showalter for the final four years of his illustrious career, all with the New York Yankees.
Showalter's only four seasons as Yankees manager were the last four of Mattingly's career. But before that, Showalter and Mattingly were teammates in the New York farm system.
"He helped my career a lot," Showalter said. "But I knew I wasn't going to be the left fielder or first baseman for the New York Yankees when I saw him. He was."
Mattingly played 14 seasons for the Yankees where he was the 1985 American League MVP, a six-time All-Star, a nine-time Gold Glover and a three-time Silver Slugger. Now, he is in his third year as Los Angeles manager.
In his first two seasons, Mattingly went a combined 168-155. Showalter said Mattingly has what it takes to be a successful manager.
"It does not surprise me that he's managing, and that he's a good one," Showalter said. "Donnie just has a great presence about him. He's got a real pure heart. He's real sincere. ... He understands how hard it is to play."
Showalter added that some of his players now have some of the same characteristics as Mattingly, but not entirely.
"It's pretty hard to find a guy that brings that package from top to bottom," Showalter said.
On Thursday, Showalter's praise for Mattingly was high. But when the series between their two teams starts, Showalter said: "I like him, [but] I'm not going to like him for three days."
INJURY UPDATES: Orioles pitchers Steve Johnson and Tsuyoshi Wada both threw on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. Johnson went four innings, threw 70 pitches and took a line drive off the thigh but was able to continue.
Showalter said if Johnson feels good tomorrow, his next start will be on a rehab assignment.
Wada went three innings and threw 45 pitches. Showalter said he'll be progressed to four innings and 60 pitches in his next start.
Showalter added that Brian Roberts jogged on a treadmill in the pool in Sarasota, Fla. as he continues to get better.
URRUTIA'S NEXT STEP: Showalter said Cuban defector Henry Urrutia was traveling on Thursday, en route to Bowie. He said Urrutia is supposed to be activated and placed on Class-AA Bowie's roster.
Showalter said Urrutia will primarily play left and right field but may also see some time in center.
COMING UP NEXT: The Orioles play three games at home against the Dodgers. On Friday, Jason Hammel (2-1, 4.34 ERA) faces Hyun Jin-Ryu (2-1, 2.89).
On Saturday, Wei-Yin Chen (0-2, 4.00) faces Josh Beckett (0-2, 3.26). On Sunday, Jake Arrieta (1-0, 5.40) faces Chad Billingsley (1-0, 3.00).