Mattingly interviews with Tribe on phone

Mattingly interviews with Tribe on phone

PHILADELPHIA -- Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly, presumably being groomed to take over when manager Joe Torre retires, has interviewed for the vacant Cleveland Indians manager's job and has been approached through the Dodgers' front office by the Washington Nationals about their managing job, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

"I've wanted to manage a long time and I've been moving in that direction," said Mattingly, who interviewed by phone with the Indians but said the Nationals told Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti their interview process will start after the World Series.

"I'm flattered the organization thinks I'm capable of [managing], or at least they'd think I could," Mattingly added. "It was a chance to get to know them and for them to get to know me."

Mattingly was reportedly one of eight to 10 candidates interviewed over the phone by Tribe general manager Mark Shapiro and assistant general manager Chris Antonetti last week, during the Indians' organizational meetings in Goodyear, Ariz.

It is not known if Mattingly is one of the three to five finalists for the job who will have a more formal interview with the Tribe's higher-ups. Thus far, former Nationals skipper Manny Acta is the only confirmed finalist, as he was in Cleveland on Tuesday. The Plain Dealer has reported that former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine will also be interviewed in Cleveland this week, though that was not confirmed by the club.

Mattingly, 47, is the former Yankees All-Star first baseman who was passed over for Joe Girardi as Torre's replacement when Torre and the Yankees parted company after the 2007 season. When Torre accepted the Dodgers' offer, he did so only if Mattingly and third-base coach Larry Bowa came with him.

Mattingly immediately took a half-season leave to attend to family issues, but he reclaimed his job after the All-Star break of 2008, and the Dodgers' offense immediately responded.

"I rely on him a great deal," Torre said of Mattingly, who serves as a sounding board for Torre as well as hitting coach. "He's closer than I am to the players. I played 30 years ago, he played 14 or 15 years ago. He was a superstar, but you wouldn't know it. He doesn't expect you to listen to him because of that. He has something to say and he works hard. He would be an excellent manager. He's not afraid to be wrong."

Preaching a patient, yet aggressive, approach at the plate, Mattingly had an offense that led the league in batting average and on-base percentage and was fourth in runs scored, even though it was 11th in home runs and left the most runners on base.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.