Mets’ Callaway, Vargas have confrontation 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)

CHICAGO (AP) — New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway cursed at a reporter, and pitcher Jason Vargas had to be restrained from charging him during a confrontation in the team’s clubhouse after a loss Sunday.

The dustup with beat writer Tim Healey of Newsday occurred after the Mets blew a late lead in a 5-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. There was no physical contact.

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.”

The incident followed a tense postgame news conference, when reporters asked Callaway repeatedly about his decision to stick with reliever Seth Lugo during the eighth inning instead of going to closer Edwin Diaz. Lugo allowed a go-ahead, three-run homer to Javier Baez.

After the news conference, Callaway walked past Healey and other reporters in the clubhouse. Healey told Callaway he would “see you tomorrow,” and Callaway responded by calling Healey an obscenity. Callaway walked away and then returned, cursing at Healey again and telling him to leave the clubhouse.

“I thought he was leaving for the day, so I said, ‘See you tomorrow, Mickey,'” Healey said. “And then he said, ‘Don’t be a smart-ass.’

“I tried to tell him, I didn’t mean anything by it,” Healey added. “I was just saying, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’ And then he said, ‘Get this guy out of here,’ and that got the attention of Jason Vargas.”

Vargas stared down Healey and eventually tried to charge him. Players stepped in to restrain the veteran left-hander.

Healey left the clubhouse moments later. He said Wilpon called later in the evening to apologize.

“He stressed the fact that I should feel comfortable being able to do my job at the ballpark and that moving forward, there’s no reason for me to feel uncomfortable,” Healey said. “I appreciated that sentiment from him, absolutely.”

The team also issued a statement.

“The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today’s game in the clubhouse,” the statement said. “We do not condone this type of behavior from any employee. The organization has reached out and apologized to this reporter and will have further discussions internally with all involved parties.”

It’s been a trying season for the Mets following an aggressive offseason. The club is 37-41.

New York is set to open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Monday.

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