Wed, Nov 05, 2003 - Page 19 News List

NY hires Don Mattingly


Former major league great Don Mattingly is returning to the New York Yankees.

A six-time All-Star who was the team's captain from 1991 until his retirement in 1995, Mattingly was persuaded by owner George Steinbrenner to become the team's hitting coach.

While no announcement was made Monday, his hiring was disclosed by a baseball official with knowledge of the team's decision. A news conference was expected Tuesday.

When Mattingly was at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 15 to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 6 of the AL championship series, he wasn't sure whether he wanted to return to a full-time role with the team.

He replaces Rick Down, who was fired last week after New York hit just .140 with runners in scoring position during its six-game loss to Florida in the World Series.

Willie Randolph, who had been third base coach for the last 10 years, becomes bench coach in place of Don Zimmer, who quit the day after the Series loss, saying he would never again work for Steinbrenner.

Lee Mazzilli, the first base coach for the past four years, replaces Randolph as third-base coach -- unless Baltimore hires Mazzilli as its manager. Luis Sojo, who played in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees from 1996 through this year, takes over from Mazzilli as the first-base coach.

Rich Monteleone remains as the bullpen coach, and Gary Tuck stays on as the catching instructor.

Mel Stottlemyre, who became pitching coach when Joe Torre took over as manager before the 1996 season, said after the World Series he will take several weeks before deciding whether to return.

Mattingly, known as Donnie Baseball, was the 10th Yankees captain, the last until Steinbrenner gave Derek Jeter the title in June.

Mattingly hit .307 with 222 homers and 1,099 RBIs in a career that lasted from 1982 to 1995, when he retired because of back trouble. He won nine Gold Glove awards at first base, won the 1984 American League batting title and was voted the league's most valuable player award the following year.

His No. 23 was retired by the team in 1997, and he returned to the field three years later as a spring training instructor. He said then he didn't want a full-time baseball job, wanting to watch his three children grow up.

Mattingly's oldest son, Taylor, was selected by the Yankees out of Evansville Central High School, Indiana in the 42nd round of the amateur draft in June. He hit .224 for the Gulf Coast Yankees with no extra-base hits and seven RBIs in 58 at-bats.

When the Yankees fired Chris Chambliss as hitting coach after the 2000 season, Mattingly was contacted by Torre.

"It was back on the road, and I didn't want to go back on the road," Mattingly said then. "I didn't want to be gone."

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