Miami manager Don Mattingly returns to club

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Don Mattingly, Zach Thompson, Jorge Alfaro

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly, left goes to the mound to remove starting pitcher Zach Thompson, right, during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the New York Yankees, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Miami. At center is catcher Jorge Alfaro (38). (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — Marlins manager Don Mattingly is back with the club two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 60-year-old Mattingly, who was vaccinated for the virus in April, returned for the opener of a three-game series at home against the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

“It feels good to be back,” he said. “It’s a little different watching games on TV. I see a lot of different things. But that gets old really quick. Once you start feeling better, like these last eight days, OK let’s go. I’m ready to go.”

Mattingly said he felt “something” during Miami’s game against the New York Yankees on July 30. The following morning he took his temperature and noticed a mild fever. He then underwent COVID-19 testing.

Mattingly said his symptoms were pretty mild.

“Getting the positive wasn’t necessarily a shocker because of the way I felt that day,” he said. “I’ve been taking my temperature every day for two years and never had a fever. And all of sudden I had a fever and got a little headache, this doesn’t feel good. Honestly, you test, you’re positive and they kick you out the backdoor and you don’t see anybody for 10 days. It’s definitely an experience you don’t want anyone to go through.”

Bench coach James Rowson managed the club during Mattingly’s absence. The Marlins went 4-8, including 1-5 on a recently concluded road trip to Colorado and San Diego, while Mattingly was away.

“Definitely glad I was vaccinated,” Mattingly said. “I know it’s a choice for a lot of people and for different reasons. People have different reasons for not and some are health related. The decision (to vaccinate) is a personal thing.”

Miami began Friday with a 48-67 record, last in the NL East. Mattingly guided the Marlins to the postseason in 2020, ending the club’s 17-year playoff drought. He was voted National League Manager of the Year.

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