- Associated Press - Monday, June 27, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - For the Los Angeles Dodgers, going to the ballpark means business as usual _ even if the once-proud franchise just filed for bankruptcy protection.

Well behind in the NL West race and barely above last place in the division, the Dodgers are on their way to a second straight disappointing season following consecutive trips to the NL championship series.

But manager Don Mattingly said before Monday night’s game at Minnesota that he’s confident the performance of his players has not been negatively affected by the soap-opera-like developments during the divorce and financial squabbles between former owners Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt.

“I honestly believe that. I know there is a lot going on and a lot of talk about it,” Mattingly said. “To say that’s changed us not getting a hit with men in scoring position, or making a pitch with a guy in scoring position, or any of that _ I think it’s just not true. I know there is a lot going on, and it makes for interesting talk and things like that. I’m sure guys chat about it a little bit, but I really believe none of that has an effect on the outcome of our games.”

The players, clearly weary of questions from reporters about the situation, insisted they’re not discussing the matter even a little bit.

“I have not talked to one player about it,” left-hander Ted Lilly said. “Maybe some of the other guys have talked about it, but I haven’t talked to anybody yet.”

Said shortstop Jamey Carroll: “There’s nothing we can do about it. Worrying is just a waste of time and effort. We’ve got to go play. That’s for them to take care of.”

As for Monday’s news, that the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court, Lilly dismissed the notion of a distraction.

“I just saw it on the ticker. I’m not too sure what that means,” Lilly said. “As far as I know, I’m pitching tomorrow.”

Several players are owed millions on their contracts, though they’ve been promised they’ll be paid. Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Furcal, Juan Uribe and Matt Guerrier are owed more than $3 million each.

Guerrier, though, shrugged off a question about whether he was concerned.

“Not really. Just kind of hope something gets resolved. I think that’s kind of where we’re all at right now,” he said.

Affable third baseman Casey Blake responded with a blank look when asked for his reaction to the filing.

“I don’t know a whole lot about it, so I try to stay away from it,” Blake said.

Said right fielder Andre Ethier: “What news? I don’t even know what’s going on.”

Mattingly acknowledged how bizarre it is to hear the words bankruptcy and Dodgers used in the same sentence.

“A franchise as storied as we are and entrenched in the history of the game, in a big city like L.A., a great fan base, to look at that and say this is happening” is strange, Mattingly said. “But, again, I don’t know what it affects.”

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