Don Mattingly made an illegal U-Turn. But just how illegal was it? (photo courteous of yahoo.com)
This season is Don Mattingly's rookie season. As manager that is. Mattingly took over the manager post after Joe Torre retired at the end of 2010. But, Mattingly did get a rehearsal scene in July 2010.
In a game against the San Francisco Giants, Dodgers' manager Joe Torre had been ejected. Then-hitting coach Mattingly stepped in as the interim manager for the remainder of the game (it had already been expected that Mattingly would take over for Torre following the end of the 2010 season).
In the top of the ninth inning, the Dodgers were ahead 5-4 with their closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound. Broxton allowed the first two men to face him to reach base. After a sacrifice bunt, the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Aubery Huff to load the bases for Andres Torres.
Mattingly made a trip to the mound to discuss defensive alignment. Once the discussion was over, Mattingly stepped onto the infield grass, effectively ending his trip to the mound (by virtue of rule 8.06 of the Official Baseball Rules). At that moment, James Loney asked a question, causing Mattingly to turn back around and step back on to the pitcher's mound, effectively causing a second trip to the mound (by virtue of the same rule).
Giants' skipper Bruce Bochy immediately alerted the umpires to the infraction, and after reviewing the situation, Broxton was immediately forced to leave the game. The Giants would wind up scoring three runs that inning, and went on to win the game 7-5.
This call has become somewhat of a controversy, as a deeper dive into the official rule shows that in a situation like this, the pitcher is automatically removed from the game, but not immediately.
If the infraction occurs at the beginning of an official at-bat, the pitcher is to remain in the game until the current batter has reached base or been retired. Nonetheless, this managerial rehearsal was not one for Mattingly to look back on.