NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees finalized their
coaching staff for the 2007 season on Monday, promoting Don
Mattingly to bench coach and naming Kevin Long hitting coach.
One of the most popular players in franchise history, Mattingly
served as the Yankees' hitting coach for the last three seasons.
Now he will act as a more direct aid for manager Joe Torre, who
is entering his 12th season with the team.
Long served as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Columbus
Clippers for the last three seasons.
The 1985 American League MVP, Mattingly was a six-time All-Star
and served as the Yankees' captain from 1991-1995. He could
potentially be a successor to Torre, who has undergone a great
deal of criticism from the organization and the media this
After failing to reach the World Series for the third
consecutive season, rumors began circulating in early October
that Torre would be fired. But owner George Steinbrenner
confirmed on Oct. 10 that Torre would return for the final
year of his contract in 2007.
The Yankees have never missed the playoffs in Torre's 11 years
at the helm and have won nine straight AL East titles. He
guided the Bronx Bombers to championships in 1996 and from
However, the Yankees have not won a World Series since 2000,
losing each of their last two appearances in the Fall Classic.
New York was last in the World Series in 2003, falling in six
games to the upstart Florida Marlins.