Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, right, makes his point...

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, right, makes his point to home plate umpire Jerry Meals on a call while playing against the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles. (May 2, 2011) Credit: AP

From the moment eight years ago when Don Mattingly finally accepted George Steinbrenner's longstanding offer to join the Yankees' coaching staff, he's been eyeing a future as a big-league manager. But Mattingly never envisioned everything turning out like this.

Long viewed as the favorite to replace Joe Torre as Yankees manager, Mattingly was famously passed over by the Yankees in 2007 in favor of Joe Girardi. That led Mattingly to follow Torre to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and four years later he's finally reached the position he's always wanted.

But thanks to a host of issues, mostly off the field, Mattingly's first month on the job has been anything but typical as the the former Yankee first baseman returns to New York for the first time with a weekend series at Citi Field

Here are four challenges that Mattingly -- who earlier this week declined an interview request through a team spokesman -- has faced since he got the job.

1. Organizational chaos.

Playing for the late Yankees owner during his heyday of, well, causing distractions for his team might have been the best on-the-job preparation that Mattingly could have received for what he's been faced with in terms of off-the-field drama this month.

Mattingly has said he was watching television last month when he saw on the news that Major League Baseball had taken over control of the Dodgers' finances. Soon Mattingly was standing in front of his team next to general manager Ned Colletti, telling players to keep their focus on the field.

The Dodgers have gone 7-7 since the April 20th announcement by commissioner Bud Selig.

2. Filling Torre's shoes.

You might think this would be a hard one because of Torre's uber-successful tenure with the Yankees. Instead, the challenge has been to find out where exactly Torre's Dodgers went wrong last season.

Mattingly has said that his opening speech in spring training included references to their demise last season, which he has attributed to players losing sight of their common goal.

Getting players to put personal statistics aside for the best of the team used to be the dominating characteristic of Torre's teams. However, last year the Dodgers lost 18 of their final 30 games, letting the chance at a third consecutive playoff appearance slip away.

3. He's no Mo.

The last thing any manager wants to deal with is demoting a proven closer, yet Jonathan Broxton's struggles were quickly leaving Mattingly with no other choice.

Mattingly recently raised eyebrows by closing a game with Vicente Padilla, though publicly he made sure to stick with Broxton as his anointed closer. "How many times have you seen teams say, 'We're going to close by committee,' and end up with a mess?" Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times.

Broxton admitted this week that his elbow has been bothering him, offering a tangible reason why the hard-throwing righthander had been so hittable (5.68 ERA). The team is awaiting results of an MRI.

4. Injuries pile up.

The top lesson Mattingly learned from Torre during their Yankee years together was not to overreact to the ebbs and flows of a baseball season, especially when it comes to injuries.

So far the season the Dodgers have already put Casey Blake, Juan Uribe and Marcus Thames on the disabled list, and regulars Andre Ethier and Broxton also are nicked up.

Yet you could argue Mattingly has done a fine job of managing in their absences.

The Dodgers have been outscored 147-118, which equates to a 13-19 record, according to the Pythagorean theory that uses a mathematical formula to calculate a team's record based on their run differential. The Dodgers, however, are currently two games ahead of that pace at 15-17.

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