"Donnie Baseball" can expect to hear that appreciation Tuesday night when the Dodgers visit the Bronx for the first time since clinching the 1981 World Series.
Mattingly, a six-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner and the 1985 AL MVP, had his No. 23 retired to Monument Park after playing his entire 14-year career with the Yankees. The former first baseman never made it to the World Series, though, hanging it up in 1995, right before the Yankees' run of four titles in five seasons.
Mattingly returned to the Yankees in 2004 as a coach under Joe Torre, but the Yankees failed to advance to the World Series in his four seasons on the bench. Mattingly, many thought, would replace Torre after the team's longtime manager turned down a one-year offer, but Yankees brass opted for Joe Girardi.
Mattingly left the Yankees and spent the next three seasons as one of Torre's coaches with the Dodgers before taking over as manager in 2011.
His only appearance at new Yankee Stadium was in 2010 for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating late owner George Steinbrenner.
"(Yankees management) treated me fairly I thought," Mattingly told MLB.com. "Things work out for a reason. That would have been really bad timing for me. Terrible. I was going through some personal stuff that would have been miserable trying to manage for the first time and have that going on. So, that was a blessing in disguise.
"Coming to L.A. has been great, and obviously there's been a lot of turmoil this year, but I love what I'm doing and I like being in L.A."
Girardi expects Mattingly's two-game return to New York to be a positive experience.
"I know I've always loved him and appreciated what he's done, and I know the fans have seen a lot more than I have," Girardi said. "I think it'll be a great day for him."
A win would make it even more enjoyable, as the Dodgers (29-39) have dropped six of eight to fall a season-worst 10 games below .500.
They opened their nine-game trip by losing two of three to Pittsburgh. Los Angeles has won just four of 17 as the visitor.
"It's been kind of the same story and that's that we haven't been able to win a series,'' Mattingly said after Sunday's 6-3 defeat.
The Yankees (38-31), meanwhile, are back home following a 4-6 trip that ended with Sunday's 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. New York plated five runs in the third inning - a three-run homer from Travis Hafner and RBI hits from Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix - en route to snapping a five-game skid.
The Yankees hit .199 while averaging 2.7 runs in their previous nine games.
New York will have to generate offense without Mark Teixeira after he exited Saturday's 6-2 loss with an aggravated right wrist. He got a cortisone shot Sunday, and it was determined there were no new tears in the tendon sheath, but he was placed back on the 15-day disabled list before this game.
Overbay, who went 1 for 13 on the trip, will start in Teixeira's place.
The Yankees, three back of AL East-leading Boston, will face Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.85 ERA) in the opener. The rookie left-hander last pitched in Wednesday's 8-6, 12-inning loss to Arizona, when he allowed three runs and a season-high 11 hits in six innings.
"My fastball was coming over the center off the plate all game, and my velocity really wasn't there," Ryu told the Dodgers' official website. "But I think that's because for the first time in a while (May 22) I went off of four days' rest."
He'll have had five days' rest Tuesday, and he's 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in four starts with that time in between starts.
New York opens its nine-game homestand with Phil Hughes (3-5, 4.89) trying to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season. The right-hander walked a career high-tying five in 4 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 5-2 loss at Oakland.
Hughes allowed only an unearned run over seven at Seattle in his previous outing.
"(Putting together consecutive quality starts is) something that he's going through right now," Girardi told the Yankees' official website. "He needs to figure that out for us."
Hughes is 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA in six home starts.
Rookie right fielder Yasiel Puig will make his Yankee Stadium debut after a three-hit effort Sunday lifted his batting average to .479 since the Dodgers called him up June 3.
Puig isn't going anywhere when Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford return from hamstring injuries, so that's left Andre Ethier's future in question. Ethier, though, hasn't let that impact him, going 9 for 20 with a homer and five RBIs in the last five games.
Since the Dodgers' World Series-clinching Game 6 victory at New York on Oct. 28, 1981, these clubs have split six games. They last played June 25-27, 2010, with the Yankees taking two of three.
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