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Juan Uribe manages Dodgers to win in final game of 2014

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Victor Decolongon

LOS ANGELES -- Juan Uribe won't get official credit for it, but his 1.000 winning percentage as Dodgers manager is tied for the best in major league history.

"I thank the players," Uribe joked. "Not me."

With the Dodgers already locked into the No. 2 seed with technically nothing to play for on the final day of the season, manager Don Mattingly deployed a strategy used often by his predecessor Joe Torre, using veteran players to run the team in the final meaningless game, a 10-5 win over the Rockies.

Uribe was the manager, with bench coach Hanley Ramirez and pitching coach Clayton Kershaw at his disposal. Uribe, in his fourth season with the Dodgers, was scheduled for a day off on Sunday anyeway, making it an easy choice for Mattingly.

"You want a guy who's going to have fun, and an older guy who's been around, that you know would enjoy it and that the guys would enjoy him doing it. I felt like Juan was a perfect choice for our club," Mattingly said. "If you watch our team through videos or everything that goes on in our locker room, you know a lot of things happen around Juan.

"He's relaxed and loose, but when he gets on the field he's all business."

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez doubled and homered in his first two at-bats before getting removed from the game by Uribe, as planned. Gonzalez joked that before Uribe become a full-time manager, "I would think he needs to learn English first."

Not that Uribe sees himself as a manager.

"You think you can do it and it might be easy, but now I can say managing isn't that easy," Uribe said. "I don't want to be a manager [after I retire]."

Uribe, 35, has a few years left in him as a player, too. He hit .311/.337/.440 this season for the Dodgers, setting career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS+ (120), all while providing the best defense on the team at third base.

"He's relaxed and loose, but when he gets on the field he's all business." -Don Mattingly on Juan Uribe

Just two years ago Uribe also ended the season on the bench, though as a buried player who started just once in the Dodgers' final 66 games, and had all of one plate appearance in the final 34 games, all while fully healthy. Uribe hit .199/.262/.289 in his first two years in Los Angeles (2011-12), but in the last two seasons has hit .295/.334/.439.

He has transformed from outcast to fan favorite, never more evident than when he went to the mound to change pitchers in the seventh inning, bringing in Daniel Coulombe to replace Pedro Baez. Uribe, who called that the toughest part about managing, received a loud ovation as he walked back to the dugout, and doffed his cap to the crowd.

Uribe at that time was wearing a No. 2 Tommy Lasroda jersey, after earlier wearing a No. 8 Mattingly jersey, an idea concocted by Dodgers chief marketing officer Lon Rosen.

"I was happy to wear Donnie's jersey and Tommy's jersey. For me, it was great," Uribe said. "I'll never forget those moments."

Up next

The NLDS, against the Cardinals. St. Louis comes to Dodger Stadium for the first two games. Game 1 is Friday, with Kershaw facing Adam Wainwright in the opener.