Dodgers not worried about ownership

Manager Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to the media prior to playing against the New York Mets at Citi Field. (May 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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As long as the Dodgers keep seeing their paychecks deposited into their accounts on the first and 15th of every month, they're not thinking about their team's financial woes.

"As far as I know, my check has cleared," second baseman Aaron Miles said. "It hasn't bounced, and that's really the only part that much of us worry about right now."

Major League Baseball seized control of the Dodgers' finances last month, parking a dark cloud over the franchise. But most players polled before their game against the Mets on Friday night insisted that they haven't focused too much energy on their owner's fate.

"As players, we really don't care about it," catcher Rod Barajas said. "Until we get a paycheck that is not able to be cashed or for some reason we need to make a move, a trade, and we're not able to do it because of the situation, then it becomes an issue. But until that happens, we're not worried about it."

Still, the Dodgers could be headed for financial disaster shortly. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the team doesn't have enough cash to make payroll through the end of the month.

But with MLB ready to step in if such a doomsday scenario occurs, the players are not believed to be in serious jeopardy of not getting paid. And they know it.

"I find that hard to believe that's going to happen," said leftfielder Tony Gwynn, son of the Hall of Famer. So the Dodgers continue taking the field each night, their focus firmly on the game at hand and not what might happen to the team tomorrow.

"You can't fall into the trap of thinking, 'I wonder what's going on,' " outfielder Marcus Thames said. "As professional athletes, we have to know what we're here for. Sure, we're going to hear about this every day. It's on TV every day. But we have to try and block it out and play baseball."

After the news of the takeover by Major League Baseball first hit the clubhouse two weeks ago, manager Don Mattingly told players they're the ones who control whether this becomes a distraction.

And so far, the first-year skipper believes it hasn't affected the team, though even he realizes that might sound absurd.

"I know that you probably don't believe that," Mattingly said.

But Barajas said players have been comforted by what happened with the Texas Rangers last summer. After being taken over by MLB, the Rangers still made significant moves when they were in contention at the trade deadline, acquiring Cliff Lee -- among others -- en route to their first World Series berth.

"Last year, I was scratching my head wondering how could this possibly be happening," Barajas said. "But that happening last year definitely has helped make this a non-issue for us this year."

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