Mattingly nixes full-time Yankee job

Nov. 9, 2001 at 11:58 AM
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MONTCLAIR, N.J., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Joe Torre's affection for Don Mattingly is evident, but Mattingly will not succeed Gary Denbo as the full-time batting coach for the New York Yankees.

Citing a desire to spend most of his time at home in Indiana with his family, Mattingly said he prefers to remain a part-time hitting instructor in the Yankees' organization, a position he has held for the last two years.

"My base is still home (Indiana) and I couldn't do it (the job of full-time hitting coach) 100 percent at this point," Mattingly said Thursday at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. "I'd love to keep doing what I'm doing. I feel like I'm good at it."

In a move that anyone familiar with the Yankees could see coming, the American League champions fired Denbo on Tuesday.

The obvious fall guy for the Yankees' .183 batting average in the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the 40-year-old Denbo served as New York's hitting coach for just one season.

But Denbo had already fallen out of favor before the World Series. Evidence of that came when Torre summoned Mattingly on a few occasions this season to work with Tino Martinez and other Yankee hitters. Mattingly's tutoring had a profound effect on Martinez, who led the team with 34 homers and 113 RBI.

One of the most popular players in team history and the 1985 American League Most Valuable Player, Mattingly was the first choice to succeed Chris Chambliss, who was fired as hitting coach following the 2000 championship season, but turned the job down.

Mattingly's latest rejection leaves Chili Davis, the team's designated hitter in 1998-99, as the top candidate for the job. Davis visited with the Yankees when they were in Arizona for the World Series and expressed interest in returning to the organization.

New York's .183 average was the lowest by any team in a seven-game World Series.

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