The Dodgers’ controlling owner said Tuesday that he will not be the person who decides whether to retain or fire Manager Don Mattingly.
That call, as well as any other major personnel decisions, will be made by President Stan Kasten and General Manager Ned Colletti, according to Mark Walter.
“These guys are in charge,” Walter said before the Dodgers’ 3-0 victory over the Angels. “Nobody wants me running this team. If they do, that’s a huge mistake. I’m not qualified to run a baseball team. I hope people know that.”
Walter is chief executive of Guggenheim Partners and one of the partners in Guggenheim Baseball Management, the company that owns the Dodgers.
Is there a point at which Walter will become involved in making baseball decisions?
“I guess if I have to fire Stan,” Walter said.
Walter laughed and added, “You know I was joking! You must say I was joking!”
Is he close to firing Kasten?
Walter laughed, as did Kasten, who was standing nearby.
Walter was reminded that the Dodgers are in last place, and was told that Kasten was the architect of baseball’s version of the Titanic.
“We are not the Titanic,” Walter protested.
Asked if he had any regrets about purchasing the team, Walter laughed and replied, “I’d like to think we’re going to own the team for more than 22 days.”
In a more serious moment, Walter acknowledged it wasn’t easy for him to watch the Dodgers sit at the bottom of the standings.
“The fans have been great, but it’s been rough,” Walter said. “The play has been rough. We’ll come out of it.”
The Dodgers regained the good will of their fans by fielding a team with a record $230-million payroll. Walter didn’t sound concerned that the mounting losses could erode the enthusiasm of fans.
“Dodger fans, they’re really the best fans in the world,” Walter said. “They’re very loyal.”
Loyal? They’re booing Matt Kemp. “People do that sometimes,” Walter said. “I don’t think you have 50,000 people booing.”
Asked if he understood why fans were booing the slumping star center fielder, Walter replied, “I don’t want to second-guess fans. They can do whatever they want. They are the customers.”
Ramirez close to return
Hanley Ramirez could return from the disabled list Monday when the Dodgers host the San Diego Padres.
Ramirez is tentatively scheduled to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment Thursday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, which will be in Bakersfield. He is expected to remain with the Quakes through Sunday.
If the rehabilitation assignment goes well, Ramirez could be activated as early as Monday.
Ramirez has played in only four games this season. He missed the first month because of a broken thumb sustained during the World Baseball Classic. He was activated April 29, only to strain his left hamstring in his fourth game back.
Ramirez ran the bases Tuesday for the second consecutive day.
Nick Punto was out of the lineup with a stiff back. He said he didn’t expect to be sidelined for long. . . . Stephen Fife started a rehabilitation assignment with Rancho Cucamonga. He pitched four innings and was charged with four runs (three earned), six hits and one walk. He struck out three.