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Mazzilli gets the axe


so-cal dub
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ST. LOUIS - You knew somebody was going to be the fall guy for the Yankees' collapse against the Tigers in the division series and if it wasn't going to be Joe Torre, then it was surely going to be one of his coaches. And so it is Lee Mazzilli, a victim of circumstances, who takes the hit as the Yankee high command moves manager-in-waiting Don Mattingly into the bench coach position, in which he can concentrate on game strategy instead of tutoring hitters.

 

No one from the Yankees would confirm the coaching shakeup yesterday, but no one denied it, either. All they would say is that "this is one area that we're looking into," meaning Mattingly becoming the bench coach. It makes sense from the standpoint that GM Brian Cashman privately has let it be known that he views Mattingly as a strong candidate to be the Yankees' next manager, and with Torre in the last year of his contract and clearly on notice from George Steinbrenner to produce a better season than the past two, it's important for Mattingly to get more directly involved in the in-game strategy.

 

At the same time, it's a blow for Mazzilli, a good baseball man who, after getting a bum deal as manager in Baltimore from Orioles owner Peter Angelos, was welcomed back into the Yankee fold as Torre's bench coach last winter. Mazzilli, who goes back with Torre to his playing days with the Mets, deserves another, fairer shot as a manager, but wasn't going to get it with the Yankees, even though he earned the Oriole job by paying his dues with three years of managing experience in the Yankees' system.

 

As for the hitting coach, Cashman will stay within the organization, promoting Kevin Long, who has tutored the Triple-A hitters at Columbus for the last three years. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Long played six years in the Kansas City Royals' system and was the batting coach for their Double-A Wichita farm team in 2000-01.

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I don’t know what to make of that, So Cal. The only thing I had against Mazzilli was the Yankee OF playing so shallow, if he had anything to do with that. I won’t even speculate what kind of manager Mattingly would make.

We're gonna promote a AAA batting coach.... That scares me.

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