Don Mattingly refused to say Wednesday whether he has received any assurances about returning next season as the Dodgers' manager.
"I really don't want to speak about my contract at all," Mattingly said. "I don't think it's the right time. We're talking about winning games. That's all I'm concerned about."
The Dodgers are leaning toward bringing back Mattingly, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity. But the team wants to focus on the playoffs now, then hold contract talks after the season, the people added.
Dodgers President Stan Kasten declined to comment. General Manager Ned Colletti said the issue would be addressed after the season.
"That will all end up in the place it should end up," Colletti said.
Mattingly's contract expires this year, although the Dodgers can exercise an option for next year. Dodgers owners Mark Walter and Magic Johnson each praised Mattingly's work last week, but their refusal to publicly commit to Mattingly beyond this season led to speculation that his return might have depended on how far the team advanced in the playoffs.
Off to St. Louis
The Dodgers headed to St. Louis after working out at Dodger Stadium, as the Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-1, in a winner-take-all fifth game of their National League division series.
The Cardinals will have home-field advantage in the NL Championship Series by virtue of compiling a regular-season record of 97-65 that was the best in the league.
Games 1 and 2 will be at Busch Stadium on Friday and Saturday. The best-of-seven series will move to Dodger Stadium for Games 3 to 5, which are scheduled to be played from Monday to Wednesday. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, will be played in St. Louis on Oct. 18 and 19.
The Dodgers were 4-3 against the Cardinals in the regular season, but the Cardinals were 2-0 against Clayton Kershaw.
Zack Greinke, who is scheduled to start Game 1 for the Dodgers, beat the Cardinals on Aug. 5, when he held them to two runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Two Dodgers were on the Cardinals' 2011 team that won the World Series: utilitymen Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto.
"I feel like they're just a team that's in our way," Schumaker said.
Andre Ethier sounded exasperated when asked after the Dodgers' workout Wednesday if he could play center field in the NL Championship Series.
Ethier took batting practice and worked out in center field.
"There are no different answers from two days ago, guys," Ethier said. "I don't know what you guys are looking for. We tried it out today and will try it again tomorrow. If it feels good, then we'll be in a better spot than we are right now and we'll make a decision when it comes to Friday."
Ethier last played center field on Sept. 13. He is recovering from shin splits above his left ankle, which have prevented him from running the bases for almost a month.
The Dodgers nonetheless carried Ethier on their 25-man division series roster. He was limited to four pinch-hit plate appearances, in which he was 0 for 3 with a walk.
Not wanting run out of parking spaces the way they did in the division series, the Dodgers will be offering free parking to cars with four or more passengers for the remainder of the postseason. By encouraging fans to carpool, the Dodgers are hoping they won't have to send hundreds of fans to off-site parking lots, as they had to on Monday.
The Dodgers are also asking their fans to arrive earlier than usual, as they are expected to play in front of sellout crowds for the rest of the playoffs. Parking gates and turnstiles will open three hours before every game.
Steve Dilbeck contributed to this report.