Yanks promote Mattingly to bench coach

Updated: December 11, 2006, 8:35 PM ET
SportsTicker

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 offseason.

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 1998-2000.

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.