Sports

Mattingly ready to manage Yanks

NEW YORK -- Don Mattingly has been making managerial moves with the New York Yankees for several seasons -- in his head.

"I've heard that experience thing come up a lot," he said, "but in my own mind I've been managing for the last four years, and to be honest with you, as a player you're playing along the whole time."

After four seasons as a coach, Mattingly was interviewed Tuesday to replace departed manager Joe Torre. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi interviewed a day earlier, and first base coach Tony Pena will speak with team officials today.

"It's an unbelievable opportunity for whoever gets it, and if it's me I'm looking forward to that challenge," said Mattingly, who met with owner George Steinbrenner and his sons Hank and Hal, and other team executives at the Yankees spring training facility in Tampa, Fla.

Mattingly is considered the leading candidate for the job. Hank Steinbrenner said Monday four or five people will be interviewed, but it's possible the candidates will be limited to the trio. Teams aren't allowed to announce moves during the World Series, but the Yankees could ask commissioner Bud Selig for permission if they'd like to name a successor on off-days Friday or Tuesday.

Mattingly, 46, among the most beloved players in Yankees history, spent this season as bench coach following three years as hitting coach under Torre. He didn't back away from his relationship with the former manager but also highlighted some of his other influences.

"There's a lot of Joe Torre in me but there's also a lot of Billy Martin and Lou Piniella and whatever creates the personality inside of me that says we need to get this job done," Mattingly said.

Drafted in the 19th round in 1979, Mattingly batted .307 with 2,153 hits and 1,099 RBIs during a 14-year career diminished by back injuries. He won nine Gold Gloves at first base and the 1985 AL MVP, serving as team captain before his No. 23 was retired by the Yankees in '97.

WAKEFIELD CAN'T SHOULDER LOAD -- Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is being left off Boston's roster for the World Series because of a bad shoulder.

Wakefield, 41, fought through back problems late in the season and was kept off the roster for the first-round series against the Los Angeles Angels. He has pitched once since Sept. 29, allowing five runs in 4º innings in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians. Wakefield was 17-12 with a 4.76 ERA in the regular season.

Also, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Jacoby Ellsbury would start Game 1 in center field in place of Coco Crisp, who struggled in the playoffs.

WHO'S ON FIRST? -- Daisuke Matsuzaka hit a home run in Japan last year, and the Boston pitcher should get a chance to bat when he starts Game 3 of the World Series. Which also means that either David Ortiz, Mike Lowell or Kevin Youkilis will be left out of the lineup with no designated hitter at Coors Field.

Ortiz has been slowed by an ailing right knee, and that could be a factor. Red Sox manager Terry Francona wasn't ready to reveal his plans a day before the opener against Colorado.

"It puts us at a disadvantage" without a DH, Francona said. "Youkilis, Lowell, Ortiz, two out of three play."

Boston played nine games in NL stadiums this year and went 6-3. Ortiz, the usual DH, played first base in seven of them. Youkilis is Boston's regular first baseman and Lowell is the everyday third baseman.

"I haven't talked about it yet," Ortiz said. "I don't even know if I'm playing first base."

COOK IN -- Opening-day starter Aaron Cook was added to Colorado's roster for the World Series, and he'll start Game 4 at home against Boston. Cook, who was 8-7 with a 4.12 ERA, hasn't pitched in a major league game since Aug. 10 because of a strained muscle in his side. Franklin Morales now goes to the bullpen, giving manager Clint Hurdle a third left-handed reliever to go with Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Fuentes.

ROCKIES TICKETS SELL OUT ONLINE -- The Rockies sold out all three World Series games at Coors Field on Tuesday, one day after their first attempt collapsed in a computer-system crash blamed on people trying to fool the system to hoard tickets. The Rockies, who had labeled the problem as an "external, malicious attack," said they sold more than 50,000 tickets in the second round of ticket sales in about 2½ hours.

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