LOS ANGELES (AP) -Don Mattingly won't be alongside Joe Torre in the Los Angeles Dodgers' dugout every game this year.
Mattingly will be moved from hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers to major league special assignment coach for the 2008 season due to family reasons, the team said Tuesday. Mike Easler will replace Mattingly as hitting coach.
``Donnie is prioritizing his family first,'' said the former MVP's agent, Ray Schulte. ``The Dodgers have been very supportive, creating a position so Don can still make a contribution to the team throughout the year!''
After losing out to Joe Girardi for the New York Yankees' manager job, Mattingly agreed to follow Torre to Los Angeles.
Mattingly will now assist with Dodgers' major league coaching staff during spring training and throughout the season.
``I'm very grateful that the Dodgers have allowed me to take care of these family matters and I hope that everyone can respect our privacy during this time,'' Mattingly said in a statement issued by the team. ``I truly appreciate the support of all Dodger fans since joining the organization and I look forward to helping the team win in 2008 and beyond.''
The 57-year-old Easler was the St. Louis Cardinals' hitting coach from 1999-2001, and served in the same capacity for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1992 and the Boston Red Sox in 1993-94. He spent the last two seasons as a hitting coach in the Dodgers' minor league system.
``Mike has enjoyed success as both a player and a coach in the Major Leagues and he's extremely familiar with our players,'' Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. ``This is an opportunity to promote a very talented individual from within the organization and we expect him to make a seamless transition to the major league staff.''
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