Joe Torre to visit Yankee Stadium
LOS ANGELES -- With no game on the Los Angeles Dodgers' schedule for Monday, manager Joe Torre and hitting coach/manager-in-waiting Don Mattingly will travel to New York to take part in a pregame ceremony at Yankee Stadium on Monday night to unveil a monument honoring George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' late owner.
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It will be the first trip to the new stadium for Torre, who managed the Yankees from 1996 to 2007. Mattingly spent his entire 14-year playing career with the Yankees and later coached them under Torre from 2004 to 2007.
"I got a call from their COO Lonn Trost on Friday before I made my announcement. He invited me and Donnie," Torre said. "He asked if we wanted to come for a memorial for George. I had been hoping they were going to have something, and I was hoping it would be at a time when I could make it."
Said Mattingly: "I'm excited, and I obviously want to do this for Steinbrenner because he did so much for me and my family over the years. ... It's a tough decision because of the travel. I'm excited that they invited Joe, because Joe hasn't been back. I'm sure he wouldn't say it, but I'm sure that hurt a little bit. So I'm excited they're bringing Joe back, too."
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was to be on hand to escort Steinbrenner's widow, Joan, to Monument Park for the ceremony Monday night before a game against Tampa Bay, a baseball official familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday night because details had not been announced.
Former Yankees and Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella also was invited to attend, the official said, as were many other former Yankees, a group that included Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, David Cone and David Wells.
Several Yankees who played under Torre and were coached by Mattingly are happy the two will get a chance to return to New York.
"Well, I think it's good that they get the opportunity to come back to the stadium," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "I'm sure they'll be well received by everyone. I'm glad they get an opportunity to come back because I know Mr. Steinbrenner has meant a great deal to both of their careers."
Said pitcher Andy Pettitte: "It'll be a great thing for this organization and for Joe, sure, because he ought to be part of this. He was part of this organization for a long time. That's great to see."
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has fond memories of Torre especially.
"Well, I think that's going to be nice, the first time Mr. Torre is gonna be back since he left the team," Rivera said. "For us and the fans it will be excellent. Hopefully, they feel the same way about him that we feel about him, or the way I feel about him."
Steinbrenner owned the Yankees from 1973 until his death earlier this year at age 80. Steinbrenner will be just the sixth individual honored by the Yankees with a monument. Manager Miller Huggins was the first in 1932, joined by four players: Lou Gehrig (1941), Babe Ruth (1949), Mickey Mantle (1996) and Joe DiMaggio (1999).
Torre managed the Yankees to four World Series titles in 12 seasons in charge. He was not mentioned during the closing ceremony for old Yankee Stadium in September 2008.
Torre turned down an offer to return for a 13th season as manager of the Yankees after the 2007 season and was named manager of the Dodgers soon after. He announced Friday that he will step down at the end of this season, and the Dodgers announced that Mattingly, who has been the Dodgers' hitting coach since the 2008 All-Star break, will succeed him.Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews and The Associated Press contributed to this report.