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Kasten expresses support for Mattingly

Dodgers president: 'I hope and expect Donnie to be our manager for a long time'

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A day after Don Mattingly said talks for a contract extension were going well, Dodgers president Stan Kasten proclaimed solid support for the National League Manager of the Year Award runner-up.

"I love Donnie," Kasten said Wednesday after arriving at the Owners Meetings. "We're all supporters of Donnie. I'm a fan personally as well as professionally. He has the attributes to be a long-term manager. Chiefly, it goes to his demeanor, the way he works with people. I hope and expect Donnie to be our manager for a long time. Anyone presenting a narrative otherwise is making it up."

That narrative was rooted in last year's rejection of Mattingly's request to have his 2014 option guaranteed. It continued in the rumor-filled days of June when the Dodgers were in last place and Mattingly's job appeared to be in jeopardy.

It took on a life of its own during Mattingly's stunning -- and nationally televised -- season-ending news conference, when he complained about being a lame-duck manager and caught ownership flat-footed when he said that he didn't want to work where he didn't feel wanted.

Mattingly was accompanied at that news conference by general manager Ned Colletti, as Kasten was out of town at an Owners Meeting.

"I will take responsibility for any confusion because of the sequence and timing. We could have done a better job," said Kasten, adhering to his policy of not discussing contracts with the media. "Once we had meetings, which began immediately that day, it was cleared up. But this narrative has been made up, that maybe we're not behind him and don't support him. Donnie and I have no hard feelings."

On Tuesday, Mattingly also sounded as if he and the club are back on the same page. Speaking of finishing second to Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle for the NL Manager of the Year Award, Mattingly confirmed the talks on a contract extension.

"I love where I'm at," said Mattingly, whose option for the 2014 season vested when the Dodgers advanced to the NL Championship Series. "I'm proud to be representing the Dodgers and managing their club. We're in talks right now. Things are going good. No real hurry or rush for me at this point -- I don't think for the Dodgers, either. So things are good, just working, moving forward, hoping to put something together more for the long term."

Of the top three NL Manager of the Year Award finishers, Mattingly was the only one whose club advanced to the NLCS.

The Dodgers finished third and second in the NL West in Mattingly's first two seasons, which were hampered by ownership turmoil and a resulting frugal payroll. This season started with a wave of injuries, and by mid-June, with the team in last place and rumors of Mattingly's imminent firing, the Dodgers unleashed what became the greatest in-season comeback in franchise history and one of the greatest in Major League history, winning 42 of 50 games at one point.

They finished the season with a 92-70 record and won the division title by 11 games, the largest margin in Los Angeles history. They defeated Atlanta, 3-1, in the NL Division Series and lost to St. Louis, 4-2, in the NLCS.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers