VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) -Don Mattingly realizes the family issues he faces would have kept him from managing the New York Yankees and is relieved he was bypassed for the job last fall.
Mattingly arrived at the Los Angeles Dodgers' spring training facility Monday, and said his decision to be moved from the team's hitting coach to major league special assignment coach for the 2008 season was a no-brainer since it will allow him to be with his children.
``A family decision is always an easy decision for me,'' he said. ``It's the first time ever that I ever made a commitment to someone and not lived up to that, so that was hard. That bothered me, but sometimes when you are talking about your family, you've got to do things and that's just the way it is.''
A former AL MVP during 14 seasons with the Yankees from 1982-95, Mattingly spent the past four seasons as a coach in New York under manager Joe Torre. After Torre left the Yankees, Mattingly lost out to Joe Girardi to be the manager and followed Torre to Los Angeles.
``I am really grateful I didn't get it,'' Mattingly said of the Yankees' managerial job.
Mattingly's private issues became public earlier this month when his estranged wife, Kim, was arrested and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct after police say she refused to leave his property in Indiana.
The couple filed for divorce in November on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
``You never want that. Obviously, that stinks. Obviously you don't want your laundry out there,'' Mattingly said. ``I worry about it more from my kids' standpoint. I don't really worry about what people think, but the kids, it's a little bit different story.
``I worry about my youngest, keeping him straight during the transition.''
Mattingly was referring to his 16-year-old son.
During the next three weeks, Mattingly will be with the Dodgers. Then he'll catch up with them throughout the season.
``The Dodgers have been great,'' he said. ``They've treated me better than I deserve because I have no track record with this organization. I love being with Joe, and they've shown me a lot of respect and I'd really like to return that if they want me.
``I am looking at this like a long-term situation for me without anything set in stone.''
Torre said it's good to have Mattingly around, if only for a while.
``He works hard, he doesn't expect anything, he has a great grasp on the game,'' Torre said. ``It's unfortunate he won't be with us all year.''
Meanwhile, Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax worked with Dodgers pitchers Scott Proctor and Chan Ho Park on Monday.
``It's a treat,'' Torre said. ``He'll work with some pitchers away from everybody else so he can get some one-on-one time. Tomorrow, he'll work with one of the younger pitchers. Park and Proctor both asked about it when they saw him here.''
Torre said Koufax was one of the first to call him with congratulations after he was hired as manager of the Dodgers last fall.
``He's just been a very special friend, not that we talk on a regular basis,'' Torre said. ``We stay in touch. We were both from Brooklyn, he was like five years older than I was.''
Torre faced Koufax on several occasions during their playing days.
``Not a lot of fun,'' Torre said. ``I had a couple home runs off him. He struck me out a good number of times.''
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