Mets host three-hour interview with Wally Backman

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Single-A Brooklyn manager Wally Backman was interviewed Saturday in San Diego for the Mets’ managerial opening.  He had a three-hour sit-down meeting with new Mets GM Sandy Alderson and, according to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News, it went smoothly.

“I thought it went very well,” Backman told the Daily News Saturday night. “But out of respect to the Mets and the interview process, I’m not going to comment any further.”

Backman led the Brooklyn Cyclones to a stellar 51-24 record this season and a playoff berth, but he has a checkered past that includes a DUI arrest, tax evasion and other financial and personal struggles.  That past cost him a managing gig with the Diamondbacks in 2004.

The Mets are expected to interview close to 12 candidates, including but not limited to Mets minor league field coordinator Terry Collins, Mets third base coach Chip Hale, Double-A manager Tim Teufel, former Arizona manager Bob Melvin, Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle and former Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu.  It’s a rather impressive list.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.