When Don Mattingly said Wednesday that the Dodgers could not expect to win simply by putting together a collection of All-Stars, many interpreted the manager’s remarks as criticism of the team’s front office and ownership.
Dodgers president Stan Kasten did not see it that way.
“I know what Don is trying to do, what his intention is,” Kasten told FOXSports.com on Thursday. “It’s to light a fire, kick-start the team. He’s trying everything he can think of. We’re all behind him.”
Kasten, as a matter of policy, does not comment on the status of employees. The Los Angeles Times, however, reported Wednesday that Mattingly would be back in the dugout when the Dodgers open a series at home against the Cardinals on Friday. And Kasten made a point of saying that the team has won three of its last four series.
Mattingly, who is in the final year of his contract, became the subject of intense scrutiny after the Braves swept the Dodgers last weekend in Atlanta. On Wednesday, he benched right fielder Andre Ethier and questioned the makeup of the team.
“We gotta find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn’t have talent,” Mattingly said.
“I felt we got more out of our ability last year. I don’t know about being tougher but I felt we got more out of our ability.
“There has to be a mixture of competitiveness. It’s not, ‘Let’s put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.’ It’s finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having talent to go with it.
“All grit and no talent isn’t going to make you successful. But all talent and no grit is not going to get you there, either.”