When Don Mattingly Batted Higher Than .300. (Gannett News Service 3/16/94)


     FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - When Don Mattingly batted higher than
  .300 for six consecutive seasons from 1984-89 and enjoyed five
  100-RBI years in that span, hitting didn't appear to be much of a
  mystery to him.
     But four straight sub-.300 efforts sent him searching for
  answers, a pursuit that caused new stances and new philosophies.
     Mattingly resolved this past winter to adopt one approach and
  stay with it. So far, the results are eye-popping.
     He slammed his third and fourth home runs of the exhibition
  season Wednesdau while lifting his batting average to a rousing
  .588 in powering the Yankees past Detroit 5-2 at Fort Lauderdale
  Stadium.
     The early muscle is evoking memories of the mid-1980s, an
  exciting prospect for the 32-year-old first baseman.
     "There are a lot of things I'd like to do again, things I know
  I'm capable of," Mattingly said. "It's a matter of getting it to
  work."
     Everything is working now. He's banged out 10 hits in 17 at-bats
  with four home runs and eight RBI. He's produced multi-hit efforts
  in each of his last four games.
     He went 3 for 3 against the Tigers, ripping a solo home run to
  right center in the opening inning against Bill Gullickson, then
  nailing him again for a two-run shot inside the right-field foul
  pole in the fourth. He capped his big afternoon with a single to
  center off left-hander Bill Krueger before Kevin Maas replaced him
  as a pinch-runner in the sixth inning.
     "I really came into camp knowing what I wanted to do," Mattingly
 said. "At this point, this is telling me it's the right approach."
     The approach sounds far simpler than it is to implement. "In
  general, I'm trying to keep my body out of the way and let my hands
  do the work," he said.
     Added batting coach Rick Down, "He's cut down the length of his
  stride, trying to stay back and see the ball well."
     Mattingly draws some encouragement from last season. His .291
  average and his 17 home runs represented his highest levels since
  1989. He totaled 86 RBI despite being limited to 134 games by a
  pulled muscle in his left rib cage. In an effort to be more
  selective, he drew a career-high 61 walks.
     Yet the season left him dissatisfied because of his maddening
  inconsistency, particularly a late-season slump.
     "Early I didn't swing the bat that well. Late I didn't swing the
  bat well. I had a good period in the middle."
     He enjoyed a torrid stretch from June 23 until Aug. 20,
  knocking in 56 runs in 51 games. Yet he struggled mightily from
  Aug. 21 on, batting .228 the rest of the way.
     When the Yankees took their AL East duel with Toronto into
  September, Mattingly was not there for them. The team captain
  batted just .250 as the club fell out of the race in that crushing
  month.
     The Yankees are convinced his tailspin was due to tendinitis in
  his right wrist. "Who knows what he would have batted if he was 100
  percent in September?" Down asked.
     Mattingly refused to point to that injury, however. "I'm not
  going to make any excuses for last year," he said. "Last year is
  there. It happened."
     He did acknowledge that he is benefitting greatly from minor
  surgery performed on his right wrist last November. "There's no
  doubt," he said. "It's enabled me to do some things again."
     Mattingly said his wrist had bothered him periodically for the
  last couple years, requiring cortisone injections from time to
  time. "I tried to stay away from surgery but it didn't work," he
  said.
     In a minor operation last Nov. 8, Dr. Charles Melone
  decompressed a tendon and removed a cyst from his right wrist.
     "That bionic piece they put in there is working," he joked.

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

PEDULLA, TOM, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - When Don Mattingly ba., Gannett News Service, 03-16-1994.




Return To The 1994 Articles List


Return To The Main Articles List



Internet Link Exchange
Member of the Internet Link Exchange
CyberLink Exchange 2000.
This Site is a member of CyberLink Exchange


Return To The Mattingly Site About Me

This Page Was Designed By Joseph L. Riccitelli, Jr. on December 25, 1997.
I Last Made Changes On: Mon October 19, 1998.

Copyright 1997-1998, Joseph L. Riccitelli, Jr.