NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Ah, spring training.
The warm late-winter sun of Florida. Veterans and prospects looking to make their mark before pitchers and catchers report.
And a Mattingly in Tampa.
It’s been a long road for Preston Mattingly, the son of the former Yankees star and current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
“I’m just trying to be myself and go out and play,” Mattingly said Tuesday. “I’ve struggled in the minor leagues, and I think a lot of people would have gave up. You’ve just got to keep working. You’ll never know what can happen.”
Mattingly, drafted by the Dodgers in 2006, agreed to a minor league contract with New York last month.
“This is another chance for him to see if he can put it together,” Yankees VP of baseball operations Mark Newman told the New York Daily News, “and a chance for us to see if his tools can play.”
Newman added: “He’s a good kid and he works hard. I talked to Donnie several times this winter about the work they had done. Donnie’s a father, but he’s also an outstanding hitting instructor, and he felt he had made progress.”
Mattingly hit .232 with five doubles, five home and 19 RBIs in 53 games last year with Class A Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga.
He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2006, then traded to Cleveland in September 2010. Mattingly was released by the Indians the following April and then signed with the Dodgers. He became a six-year minor league free agent after the season.
If the young outfielder does eventually make it to the big leagues, one thing’s for sure: he won’t be wearing his father’s No. 23. New York retired the elder Mattingly’s number in 1997.
Do you think Mattingly will make it to Yankee Stadium this season? Sound off below…
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