Mets fine Callaway, Vargas after run-in with reporter

Sports
Jason Vargas, Mickey Callaway

New York Mets’ Jason Vargas, right, is accompanied by manager Mickey Callaway as he leaves a baseball game during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field, Sunday, June 16, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Mickey Callaway needed two news conferences to issue one apology.

After the New York Mets fined their manager and pitcher Jason Vargas for their expletive-filled confrontation with a reporter following a weekend loss, Callaway stopped short of saying he was sorry for the incident during his first meeting with the media on Monday.

Callaway cursed at Newsday beat reporter Tim Healey and Vargas had to be restrained from charging him in the cramped Wrigley Field clubhouse after a 5-3 loss on Sunday. There was no physical contact.

Two hours after Callaway initially met with a large group of media members and 70 minutes before first pitch in Philadelphia, Callaway clarified his remarks.

“In my meeting with Tim, I apologized for my reaction,” Callaway said. “I regret it. I regret the distraction that it’s caused to the team…. It’s something I’m not proud of. I’m not proud of the distraction. I’m not proud of what I did to Tim. For that, I’m definitely sorry.”

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced the fines but not disclose the amount. He said the team spoke to MLB and didn’t expect any further discipline.

“We are committed to trying to create a healthy work environment for everybody,” Van Wagenen said. “The altercation was disappointing. It was regrettable on many levels.”

Vargas issued a statement but didn’t answer questions.

“I think it’s unfortunate for all parties, an unfortunate distraction,” Vargas said.

Van Wagnenen said Callaway’s status as manager remains unchanged. The Mets are 37-41.

“Frustrations were high and he understands from a leadership position that we can’t lose control and he knows that’s not something that should’ve happened,” Van Wagnenen said. “My confidence remains the same in Mickey’s ability to do his job.”

Mets ace Jacob deGrom said players held a team meeting before the game and he spoke to reporters on behalf of the club.

“It was a tough loss. Sometimes tensions run high. We don’t anticipate it happening again,” deGrom said. “Our main focus from the meeting is to move forward from this and focus on the Phillies.”

In a story published by Newsday on Sunday night, Healey said Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon called him “to apologize on behalf of the organization.”

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