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Tommy Lasorda backs Don Mattingly

LOS ANGELES -- Longtime Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda came to the defense of current manager Don Mattingly, who has been under increasing media pressure in Los Angeles with his expensive team being off to a 13-20 start.

Friday's Los Angeles Times featured two stories on Mattingly's job status, with one of them under the headline "Donnie on the Spot."

Mattingly is operating under the final year of his contract. He asked the Dodgers to pick up his 2014 option over the winter, and they declined.

"It bothers me, because Don's not that kind of guy. He wouldn't be talking about his contract. If he did, it would be privately," Lasorda told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "He's done a hell of a job with the team, and the players think the world of him. They're just not putting out. They're not playing up to their capabilities, and consequently, the manager has to suffer the brunt of it.

"[Critics] don't want to get rid of the players. They want to get rid of the manager."

Lasorda, 85, remains with the organization as a special assistant to the chairman and said he speaks with Mattingly frequently. Lasorda, who won two World Series in Los Angeles, retired in 1996 after 20 seasons as Dodgers manager.

"I know what he's going through. You just hope that this team starts winning," Lasorda said. "I knew before the season, if we were going to win 100 games, there were 62 games when I was going to be the most miserable SOB on the planet."

Before Friday's game with the Miami Marlins, Mattingly mentioned that he has gotten plenty of texts and calls from well-wishers, including from his predecessor, Joe Torre. Mattingly joked that he should have been consoling Torre, who works for the commissioner's office, for the recent umpiring controversies.

"I'm fine," Mattingly said. "I've got to be a leader. I can't be worried about me. I've got to worry about this team and this organization."