02/20/11 4:38 PM EST
Mattingly choosing words carefully for workout
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Don Mattingly has written -- and rewritten -- the opening speech he intends to deliver Tuesday before holding his first workout as Dodgers manager. Monday is reporting day for position players.
Torre, once a broadcaster, had the gift of gab. Mattingly just doesn't want to gag.
"I've been thinking about it the whole winter, but I've been making notes over time," Mattingly said. "Nervous? Yeah. Anybody who stands up and delivers a message, sure, some are comfortable with it. But this is delivering a message. Kind of nervous, the same thing with the pitchers the first time starting out [Thursday]. Getting up in front of people, it was a relief once it was over, that's for sure."
Mattingly said he's getting used to the fact that he has to talk a lot in his new job. He talks to the coaches. He talks to the players. He talks to management. He talks to the media. When times get tough, he'll probably start talking to himself.
Torre would suck on a plum pit to keep his mouth moist, when he wasn't drinking green tea.
"I told Joe over the winter, after I went to the development camp, my mouth was dry. That's why I have these Lifesavers," he said, reaching for two packs by his desk. "I'll try to get a [endorsement] deal."
Mattingly said he's sure the returning hitters who worked with him as a batting coach over the past three years are familiar enough with him, but he wants to develop a trust with the pitchers that he doesn't know as well.
"I want them to know me and the way I think," he said. "They may think they know me. They probably think I'm laid-back. But as a coach, it's different. It was Joe's club. You respect the job. You may think differently, but it's not your job to express it. You don't feel you're allowed to express your opinion in all areas.
"Now this is about the way I think about playing the game. When they walk out of camp, I hope they have a good understanding of what's expected, all the little things that go into forming a club, so it's not a surprise."
Mattingly said he hopes that if he demonstrated anything as a coach for three years, it's consistency in his treatment of a player.
"I don't change the way I am with a player, good or bad," he said, repeating a theme that clearly is important to him. "I'm not going to like a guy when he's going good and not like him when he's going bad. That's the worst thing a coach can do, it's taboo, and as a player you don't forget it."
Mattingly had to adjust Sunday's workout schedule when rain left the fields soggy. So the pitchers threw their bullpen sessions in the covered batting cages, and Mattingly saw the bright side despite the rain clouds.
"It was a light day, and that's almost good for us," he said. "Get out of the spikes for a day -- you don't want guys to get hurt. There's a different intensity when your teammates are there. It's more competitive in the guy-next-to-you mode. I know I'd work out in the winter and come into camp and after a few days be wondering why my legs were tight."
One of the tones that Mattingly is setting quickly is that he will be out there with his players, whether it's jumping into the batter's box during a bullpen session or holding conversations with players on the field instead of in his office.
"I'll stay away from calling guys in; that's like calling them into the principal's office," he said. "The field is a better setting, guys are in their element. I don't want to hear, 'Donnie's had somebody in his office.'"
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.