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Rivalry between Dodgers, Diamondbacks won't continue this season: manager

SYDNEY -- Suspensions to eight players and a controversial NL West-clinching swimming pool incident last season helped expand a growing rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks.

But Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says he doesn't expect any serious animosity to carry over from last year when the teams meet to open the major league season Saturday and Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. But he couldn't rule it out either.

The suspensions came after a brawl last June, and the incident was credited with igniting the Dodgers' run that moved them to the division title. Then when the Dodgers clinched the division crown in Arizona, they upset many Diamondbacks players by celebrating in the Chase Field swimming pool.

“Kirk (Gibson, Diamondbacks manager,) talked about it a bit yesterday,” Mattingly said. “It's a rivalry when you play somebody 19 times a year in your own division. Those games get heated.

“I don't feel like there is going to be (problems) ... maybe there is. These guys play hard, and they're tough. For us, what happened last year is over and we should move forward and play.”

Gibson was more or less conciliatory when asked about the brewing rivalry on Tuesday, preferring to talk about Australia as the location for his 1985 honeymoon “and that worked out pretty good, so I'm hoping this does. We're ready to go.”

Mattingly said people don't think of baseball as a tough physical sport “in terms of football, hockey or in this country, rugby.”

“Baseball is more mental toughness,” he added. “Night in and night out, the travel, getting in late, all kinds of different things you deal with.”

And he feels like the Dodgers match up.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, second right, and Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt, center, meet local sporting stars, Adam Goodes from Australian rules Football, left, soccer player Alessandro Del Piero, second left, and rugby league player Sonny Bill Williams, right, at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on Wednesday, March 19. (AP)

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