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07/22/10 12:10 AM ET
Mattingly's desire to manage hasn't changed
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- He wouldn't be the Dodgers' hitting coach, he would never have decided to coach in the Majors at all if it wasn't to someday be a manager. That hasn't changed. "Great players come up, and you know they're going to make mistakes when they get here," Don Mattingly said on Wednesday afternoon. "It doesn't mean they can't play, and I look at it the same way. It doesn't change anything of my thinking of that I'm going to be a good manager someday. Part of a painful process right here for me. It's not enjoyable." It was quite the mistake. The Dodgers were in a jam with the bases loaded, one out, and a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Mattingly, filling in for an ejected Joe Torre, went out to meet with his infield and closer Jonathan Broxton, turned to go back to the dugout, and turned once more time to talk to first baseman James Loney. Mattingly had barely moved, but he had moved far enough to leave and re-enter the dirt of the pitcher's mound. That meant he had visited the mound twice, and the umpires ruled Broxton had to immediately be removed. MLB determined that call to be incorrect on Wednesday -- Broxton should've been allowed to remain in for one more batter. The Dodgers went on to lose, 7-5. "Sleeping wasn't so tough, getting to sleep was a lot tougher," Mattingly said. "It took me a while to get to sleep, I'll say that." As difficult as it was, it wasn't a feeling Mattingly hasn't had before. Tuesday night reminded the 49-year-old of Opening Day in New York in 1983, the first baseman's first full season in the Majors. "My first game in New York, Yankee Stadium on Opening Day," Mattingly said. "I got like three plays that are all crazy. It's like, you suck it up, you know. The place is booing you, that's just part of it. You just suck it up and at the end you just answer the questions, and you know you don't make those mistakes again. The way I look at it is that's not the first mistake I've made, and it's not going to be the last. But I look at it like it's the last time I'm making that mistake." New York, too, is where Mattingly's Major League coaching career began in 2004. Considered Torre's protege, if not his rightful successor, Mattingly followed Torre to the Dodgers in 2006. The idea that Mattingly will someday manage the Dodgers after Torre's gone, or elsewhere, has always been public. Tuesday night didn't ruin that in either man's mind. "We've been talking about it a long time," Mattingly said. "There's really been nothing really in my career or anything that ever says turn back." "That has nothing to do with his managerial ability," Torre said. "It's a reaction thing. He turned around to talk to the player. It's something you learn, and you move on. It could happen to me at some point." It happened to Grady Little with Brad Penny on the mound in 2006, after all. Mattingly said on Wednesday he would likely manage in the Arizona Fall League after this season, and he was open to the idea of managing in the Minors next season, if that's what it took to skipper a big league team. "Do I want to? Not really," Mattingly said. "But I think any time you have to make a decision about what you want to do, you do what you have to do to get to where you want to go." With Torre suspended on Wednesday, Mattingly got another crack as captain as the Dodgers tried to avoid a seventh straight loss. Likely a little more cautious after the night before, Mattingly double-checked with his manager. "I told Donnie he's managing tonight," Torre said. "He said, 'You sure?'"
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.