ATLANTA — Will Don Mattingly be the Dodgers manager for the remainder of the season?
Team President Stan Kasten wouldn't say.
"I don't discuss the manager and I never do," Kasten said. "Ever since spring training, we said that, when you wanted to talk about him every day. We had a rough start but we expect to get through this."
Kasten was reminded he was asked a yes-or-no question.
"What was the question again?" Kasten asked.
Will Don Mattingly be your manager for the rest of the year?
Kasten offered more substantive information this time, but still left himself some wiggle room.
"That's my assumption, yeah," he said. "I assume so because I assume we're going to play the rest of the year even better than we've played so far and I like the way the ballclub is set up."
Asked to appraise Mattingly's performance as manager, Kasten said, "I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to have a discussion about any individual."
Told he was being granted an opportunity to compliment his manager, Kasten said, "I feel very good about the pieces that are in place, including the leadership on the field and in the front office. Obviously, we still have to work through some of the problems that we've had early in the season, but I think we will. I'm optimistic about it."
Kasten was more willing to talk when asked about the Dodgers' efforts to build a farm system that mirrors the one the Atlanta Braves had when he was their president. The Braves won 14 consecutive National League East titles from 1991-2005, something Kasten said was a function of their ability to develop players.
Kasten believes the infrastructure to develop such a farm system is already in place. In his view, all the Dodgers need is time to acquire and develop talent.
"What's in place now can and will succeed," he said.
The Dodgers have signed 46 international players since they were purchased by Guggenheim Baseball last year, according to Kasten.
Kasten is encouraged by the Dodgers' increased international scouting presence.
"As the game spread and it really has spread, we have made it a point of emphasis to cover every country that is developing players," Kasten said. "With this recent group of hirings, we made sure to cover not just Japan and not just the Dominican Republic, but also more in Venezuela and even other countries in South America. More and more, Europe is becoming a place where they're growing players and not just the Netherlands, but increasingly in Italy and some other countries. I think we have a presence in all of them."
The Dodgers have an academy in the Dominican Republic, at which they train a significant number of their international prospects. The team currently shares the facility with the Seattle Mariners, but plans to reclaim it entirely when the Mariners' lease expires at the end of the year.
"That's the next place we have to make some physical changes, some renovations," Kasten said.
Mark Ellis started his minor league rehabilitation assignment with double-A Chattanooga, playing three innings. Ellis was scheduled to play four innings and take two at-bats but made an early exit because the field was wet. The second baseman is scheduled to play for Chattanooga again on Saturday and could be activated as early as Sunday… Utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. felt discomfort in his knee while rehabilitating his left groin strain. He was scheduled to be examined by a doctor. … Matt Kemp was hitless in five at-bats, ending his hitting streak at 14 games. … Andre Ethier was given a day off.