LOS ANGELES - Doug Slaten dressed out quickly and went directly to the visitors’ dugout 3 1/2 hours before Friday’s game, where he plopped onto a bench and reminisced.
Slaten, who grew up in nearby Venice, said he began attending Dodgers games when he was 6, and he still can recite the starting lineup from the blue-collar Dodgers’ 1988 World Series champions.
“I remember sitting in the stadium and seeing Pedro Martinez warming up in the bullpen and thinking I might be able to play here some day,” said Slaten, whose parents, Prentice and Jane, had tickets Friday.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Slaten, 26, is on the path toward turning his dream into a full-time gig. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced after being recalled from Triple-A Tucson on Sept. 2, a soft single to right by Florida’s Wes Helms, but had not given up a hit since.
He has not allowed a run in six appearances covering five innings after retiring Kenny Lofton on Friday and is emerging as a candidate to make the D-Backs as a left-handed reliever next spring.
“From what we’ve seen so far, he’s done a wonderful job,” D-Backs pitching coach Bryan Price said.
“He’s not afraid to pitch to contact, and he hasn’t been intimidated by the things he’s seen in the big leagues. We’re excited to see him get here and give him some outings and get comfortable.”
Slaten and Randy Choate, who will be a free agent this winter, are the lone lefties in a D-Backs’ bullpen that went long stretches without a lefty this season.
The life of a professional athlete, player or coach can be demanding, and D-Backs hitting coach Mike Aldrete is considering a career change following this season.
“I’m thinking I might want to watch my family grow up,” Aldrete admitted Friday, seeming torn.
Aldrete’s family lives year-round in the Monterrey, Calif., his hometown, and Aldrete has two teenage sons and a daughter.
No decision has been made, but if Aldrete leaves, the D-Backs have capable coaching candidates in Triple-A manager Chip Hale and minor league field coordinator Jack Howell.
Florida interviewed Howell about a coaching position last season, and an American League team has shown interest for him as a hitting coach in 2007.
2007 SCHEDULE TIDBITS
The D-Backs will open and close the 2007 season in Colorado, according to the Rockies’ tentative home schedule announced Friday.
The D-Backs’ regular season opener will be April 2 at 1:30 p.m. at Coors Field, and the teams will finish the three-game series April 3-4. They will finish the season with a three-game series Sept. 28-30. They also meet at Coors from May 15-17.
A few other dates are known. The D-Backs play home series against the Dodgers on April 30-May 1-2, June 25-28 and Sept. 21-23, and visit Los Angeles April 16-17, Aug. 3-5 and Sept. 14-16.
The D-Backs will play 18 interleague games, including home-and-home three games series against Baltimore.
Minor league pitching coordinator Dennis Lewallyn and minor league outfield coordinator Eric Fox will not return in 2007. No decision has been made on their replacements.