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Dodgers give positive reviews for Don Mattingly

However, there's still no decision on the manager's status for next season. The team has an option.

October 03, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly has won plenty of praise from team executives.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly has won plenty of praise from team executives. (Scott Cunningham / Getty…)

ATLANTA — The Dodgers' top executives wouldn't say Thursday whether Manager Don Mattingly would return next season, but they offered overwhelmingly positive reviews of his performance.

"I think he's done well, don't you?" said Mark Walter, the team's controlling owner.

Co-owner Magic Johnson had a similar view.

"Don has done an amazing job," Johnson said. "It could've gone a lot of ways when we were in last place."

Mattingly's contract includes a team option for next season.

Asked if the Dodgers had to win the National League division series for the team to exercise that option, Walter replied, "I don't think you judge people on the results of a five-game series. I judge them more on how good the team is and how well it plays. If we play great and lose, it's different than if we play poorly and lose."

President Stan Kasten has the final call on whether Mattingly will be retained. Although Kasten refused to talk about Mattingly's contract status, he said, "I think he's done great. Rode through some storms during the season. Was firmly at the helm of one of the great runs in baseball history. I hope he has that same touch in the postseason."

Playoff roster set

Even though Andre Ethier still couldn't run because of shin splits above his left ankle, the two-time All-Star was part of the 25-man division series roster the Dodgers submitted to the league Thursday morning.

With Ethier limited to pinch-hitting and Matt Kemp sidelined for the entire playoffs, the Dodgers included Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke on the roster.

Gordon will be used as a late-game pinch-runner, possibly for Ethier, who would have to be removed from a game if he reached base. He grounded out in the eighth inning. Van Slyke provides not only outfield depth, but also power off the bench.

The inclusion of Gordon and Van Slyke resulted in the exclusion of Jerry Hairston Jr., who batted .143 in 91 plate appearances after the All-Star break. Hairston was gracious but said he thought he could have played center field in place of Ethier and Kemp.

"Sure, I've lost a step or two, but I can make up for it with my mind," Hairston said.

Relievers Brandon League and Carlos Marmol also were left off the roster.

League was signed to a three-year, $22.5-million contract over the winter to be the Dodgers' closer but lost his job and never found his rhythm. Marmol had a 2.53 earned-run average in 21 games after the Dodgers acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in July.

The Dodgers instead opted for Chris Capuano as the team's final reliever.

Of the 24 games Capuano pitched this season, 20 were starts. But Capuano is left-handed and the Braves' lineup is stacked with left-handed hitters. Three of the Braves' first five hitters Thursday — Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann— hit from the left side.

If the Dodgers advance to the next round, they will be able to change their roster. They could also make substitutions during the division series to replace an injured player.

Revisiting Poolgate

Kasten called Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick to apologize for how the Dodgers celebrated in the pool at Chase Field on the day they won the NL West, according to Johnson.

Johnson was initially reluctant to revisit the controversy.

"Really?" Johnson said. "Really? Do you really want me to stand here to really talk about the pool celebration in Arizona? Really? That's your best question to Magic Johnson?"

Yes, Johnson was told.

"Man, I've seen worse things happen," Johnson said. "That wasn't nothing. Guys have jumped on tables, they've done a lot of things in the NBA on other people's courts. To me, I've seen it all. We apologized, but I'm happy for my players. I will always support them. I supported them after they did it. We apologized and we moved on."

Walter also saw nothing wrong with the celebration.

"It looked like nobody was there," Walter said of how the stadium was nearly empty at the time.

Asked if he would have jumped into the pool with his players had he been there, Walter laughed.

"That's a good question," he said. "I don't know."

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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