New York Yankees First Baseman Don Mattingly. (Gannett News Service 2/22/94)


     FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - New York Yankees first baseman Don
  Mattingly slipped quietly into his locker inside Fort Lauderdale
  Stadium Tuesday, hardly causing a stir among the circle of
  reporters surrounding Danny Tartabull, his next-door neighbor.
     The surprise wasn't that Tartabull was back as a Yankee on the
  first day of full-squad workouts after his name was mentioned in
  winter trade talk.
     After all, who were they going to get to replace his 31 homers
  and 102 RBI? The surprise was that people paid more attention to
  Tartabull than Mattingly.
     On the first official day of 1994 spring training, the Yankee
  captain was overshadowed by the man hired to take pressure off him
  in the lineup. Tartabull has succeeded in doing that in the
  clubhouse as well.
     That may be because Mattingly remains a constant in the Yankee
  lineup. Tartabull remains the designated hitter - and
  spring-training question mark.
     Will he be ready to play the outfield by opening day (April 4)?
     "My goal is to get myself and my shoulder ready so I can play
  the outfield," Tartabull said. "I have received a clean bill of
  health from my doctors. I could pick up a ball and fire it right
  now. I don't want to.
     "I want to make sure my arm is strong April 4."
     He began throwing three weeks ago and is following a prescribed
  rehabilitation program by Doctor Frank Jobe, who repaired
  Tartabull's torn labrum.
     Tartabull, 31, likes to do things at his own pace. The Yankees
  learned that the hard way last fall, when he delayed his shoulder
  surgery until Nov. 30 to take a month-long October family vacation
  in Europe.
     Team officials were not happy with Tartabull's decision to
  postpone the surgery.
     "We thought our chances were better if he had done the surgery
  earlier," general manager Gene Michael said. "A couple of teams
  asked about him. They backed off with their interest because the
  operation was put off.
     "Our reports now are that the doctors said he's going to be
  ready to go. That's what we're looking for and expecting."
     Tartabull threw lightly in the team's initial workout. He took
  his swings in the batting cage and stood in right-field during a
  20-minute, clear-the-air meeting with manager Buck Showalter.
     "We feel he's going to be ready to play for us in April,"
  Showalter said. "We talked about some things. He seems fine and
  ready to go."
     Tartabull said he didn't expect there to be any lingering
  resentment from teammates about his decision.
     Showalter wasn't so sure.
     "I'll certainly be watching for any signs of animosity," he said.
     "I never expected not to be here," Tartabull said. "(The surgery
  situation) is irrelevant. It's immaterial. I took off to be with my
  family.
     "I'm here. I'm in spring training at full strength, so it
  doesn't really matter now."
     Tartabull spent most of the season's second half DH-ing when the
  pain in his shoulder prevented him from throwing. He managed to
  lead the team in home runs and RBI, batting .250 in his second
  season of a $25.5-million, five-year contract.
     "I wasn't unhappy about DHing," he said. "But I wasn't happy. I
  was doing it because I was helping my team win ball games. If that
  was the bottom line, then I'm OK with that."
     Would he mind if being forced to DH again most of the time?
     "It's not really what I want to do," Tartabull said. "We'll have
  to cross that bridge when we get to it."
     The Yankees opening-day outfield seems set with Paul O'Neill in
  right, Bernie Williams in center and newly-acquired Luis Polonia in
  left.
     But Showalter wants Tartabull's powerful bat to be an everyday
  presence and not just as a DH.
     "Ideally, I'd like for him to be available for 162 games and let
  us use him as we see fit," he said.

Copyright 1994, Gannett News Service, a division of Gannett Satelitte Information Network, Inc.

CORBETT, JIM, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly., Gannett News Service, 02-22-1994.




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