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Mattingly's focus on team, not contract status


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he won't let his contract status become a distraction.

"It can be part of the noise, but I'm not going to be a distraction to this club," Mattingly said before his pitchers and catchers held their first workout of Spring Training on Wednesday. "I've always considered myself part of the solution, not part of the problem. I'm not going to be an issue."

Mattingly is entering the third and final season of his contract. His request at the end of last season that a 2014 option be guaranteed was declined.

"If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't," Mattingly said about a new deal. "I'm concerned about doing my job."

In 2011 and '12 -- Mattingly's two seasons in charge -- the Dodgers finished in third place and second, respectively, in the National League West. Both seasons were hampered by ownership turmoil and, as a result, a limited payroll.

This year, new owners have given Mattingly an expensive and talented roster, and they apparently want to see what he can do with it before committing to him for the long term.

"I'm always challenged to get the most out of my club," Mattingly said. "I want to put them in the right position to succeed, to flourish. That's my job. Then you open the gates, let them run and you're at their mercy. If they don't do the job, then it's my fault."

Mattingly acknowledged that the Dodgers -- through what many consider their ostentatious spending -- put a target on their backs.

"Yeah, you feel like that," Mattingly said. "Why deny it? Why run away from it? Be realistic, and hopefully, you kind of spell out what to expect and not to be surprised by the expectations and lay it out. It's something we have a pretty good sense for, and we can address it before it becomes an issue."

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