Mattingly hears cheers in New York before rainout

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Don Mattingly was greeted by cheering fans as he entered Yankee Stadium Tuesday. Those same fans would have likely given him a nice ovation had there actually been a game.

Now, Mattingly will get a chance to hear two sets of cheers as the Los Angeles Dodgers face the New York Yankees in a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday after heavy rain forced the postponement roughly 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.

"I'm excited to see him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at his pregame press conference. "I had a chance to work alongside him; obviously I'm a big fan of his. He's been such a great part of Yankee history, the way he played the game. I'm anxious to hear who gets the loudest cheer today, him or Mo (Mariano Rivera) if he comes in the game. So I think that's probably the only one who can measure up and he deserves that."

Los Angeles' Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.85 ERA) will oppose former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.78) in the opener. Phil Hughes (3-5, 4.89) will start the nightcap for the Yankees and the Dodgers are likely to activate Chris Capuano from the DL, though they have not officially done so yet.

The series marks Mattingly's first return in uniform to Yankee Stadium. He has not been with the Yankees since following Joe Torre to Los Angeles in 2008 and the previous instances of him being at the new stadium occurred when he took a tour of it while the Dodgers were in town to play the Mets and in September 2010 at a ceremony unveiling the monument for owner George Steinbrenner.

"Obviously, it's good to come back," Mattingly said. "I always really enjoy coming back into the city. It's always been, for me, great. You don't quite understand the relationship, honestly. I came from a small town, loved playing; came here and just played. I pretty much tried to keep it as simple as that, and they seemed to appreciate that. It was nice for me, because I didn't have to do anything except play."

Those comments came during a 23-minute pregame press conference, which appropriately matched the number he wore for most of his years with the Yankees (1982-1995). Mattingly's career just missed World Series appearances as the Yankees lost to the Dodgers in six games in 1981 and didn't return to the Fall Classic until 1996.

After coaching in 2007 with the Yankees, he also was a candidate to succeed Torre but that job eventually went to Girardi.

"Obviously, you compete and want that job, so there was a little disappointment," Mattingly said. "I didn't go through the interview process and all that not to get it, but I felt like I was treated really well through that process."

After Torre left, Mattingly succeeded him in 2011 and, despite the highest payroll in the game, the Dodgers are 10 games under .500 (29-39) and still looking for a consistent lineup with injuries to Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford.

"On the other side of it, it took me to L.A.," Mattingly said. "I got to see the National League game, continue to work under Joe, and then the opportunity to manage the Dodgers, which for me has been a blessing. No matter what happens, it's been a great blessing for me."

As for the Yankees, they will try to start a nine-game homestand on a positive note after losing six of 10 on the West Coast. They also will play without Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, who both landed on the DL in recent days.

NOTES: Teixeira went on the DL just 17 days after returning from a serious wrist injury. This time, it was inflammation in his right wrist that is believed to have cropped up on the road trip. The Yankees do not believe the DL stint will last much longer than the minimum two weeks. ... New York general manager Brian Cashman said Youkilis will be out 10 to 12 weeks with a herniated disk in his back that will require surgery on Thursday. An MRI taken at the Southern California office of Dr. Robert Watkins revealed the injury for Youkilis, who missed 30 games with a back injury before returning June 1. ... The Yankees also added OF Zolio Almonte to the roster, recalled RHP Adam Warren from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre and designated RHP Chris Bootcheck for assignment. ... Mattingly said that he hopes Matt Kemp (hamstring) can start a rehab assignment after the weekend series in San Diego. Kemp is currently at 75 percent but has yet to run the bases. IF Juan Uribe's back kept him out of the lineup as a precaution.
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