MILWAUKEE – Don Mattingly will be managing the Dodgers on Friday when they open a three-game series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals, according to two people familiar with the team’s plans.
Before the last-place Dodgers’ 9-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, Mattingly made comments critical of his players, in particular Andre Ethier, inciting rampant media speculation that he could be managing his last game.
Mattingly said he wasn’t worried that he could be fired on the Dodgers’ day off on Thursday.
“Do I feel worried?” Mattingly said. “No, not really. Should I be?”
By questioning his team’s mental strength, Mattingly departed from his long-standing practice of defending his players.
His most pointed comments were directed at Ethier, whom he benched in favor of Scott Van Slyke. Asked why Ethier wasn’t in the lineup for the third time in six days, Mattingly explained that he wanted to field a team “that’s going to fight and compete the whole day.”
Ethier was calm when asked about Mattingly’s indirect criticism, but said he was taken aback.
“I take offense to that,” Ethier said.
Ethier said he was bothered that Mattingly made the comments to reporters without addressing with him first.
“But other than that, it’s one where I feel like every day I show up and I’m trying to figure out ways to compete,” Ethier said. “I work hard. Whether I’m going good or going bad, I work just as hard, both sides. Obviously, when things are going bad, I’m trying even harder to figure out how to make things go right. It’s one where I’m struggling just like everyone else to get a grip and a handle of what’s going on and never losing hope of what our main goal is, which is figure things out and turn things around and figure out a way to get back to the top of this division.”