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CEO says Don Mattingly's job safe

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers president Stan Kasten said Friday that manager Don Mattingly is not in imminent danger of losing his job.

"No, and I've said this for a while. I think I've stated things about as obviously as they can be," Kasten said. "I always avoid doing what you would all mock me for and that is issuing the dreaded vote of confidence. You know the reaction is when anyone does that. I try not to do that. I try to be more direct and honest about it.

"What I've always said, what I've always felt, is I like the team we put together. I like our staff. I do expect us to have success. I do expect this team to turn it around and, because of that, I expect Donnie to be around a long time."

Kasten called it a "myth" that his decision not to pick up Mattingly's 2014 option before the season began -- or to offer him a contract extension -- was indicative of a lack of faith in the manager. He pointed to the situation in Anaheim, where the Angels' Mike Scioscia also has been rumored to be on the hot seat.

"Down the road from here, there's a pretty damn good manager, one of the best, maybe, ever, who also won a world championship and, until the last week or so, I've been reading his death watch," Kasten said. "And he's got five years left on his contract!"

Entering Friday's game with the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, the Dodgers -- with a National League-record $217 million payroll -- are 19-26 and in last place in the NL West. Mattingly made critical comments about his team's competitiveness Wednesday in Milwaukee and benched right fielder Andre Ethier.

Mattingly and Ethier have not spoken since Wednesday's benching, though Ethier said he would welcome such a meeting and that he has asked some of his teammates whether they think he needs to compete harder.

Ethier told reporters Wednesday he was disappointed Mattingly didn't discuss his feelings before venting to reporters. Mattingly contested that Friday, saying he talked with Ethier for 20 minutes, until shortly before Wednesday's game began.

"Andre knows exactly where I'm coming from," Mattingly said.