Mets pitching coach dropped ethnic slur in clubhouse

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You’ll want to read the entire story from Stu Woo of the Wall Street Journal, but here’s an excerpt:

In the New York Mets locker room Monday morning, I was talking with Jeff Cutler, a 30-year old Japanese American from suburban Boston who serves as the interpreter for Japanese-born pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

We were talking casually about Asian communities in America when we heard a voice behind us.

“Jeff!”

Cutler and I turned around. It was Dan Warthen, the Mets pitching coach.

“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen told Cutler.

“It’s OK,” Cutler replied.

“I didn’t mean to insinuate –- I know you’re not Chinese,” Warthen said. He paused. “I thought it was a pretty good joke, though.”

“It was,” Cutler said, with a small laugh.

Warthen walked away.

Woo asked Cutler if he was offended by the joke and Cutler said he wasn’t, but Woo then asked Cutler to provide the gist of the joke and Cutler responded, “You should ask Dan (Warthen) about that.”

Warthen was supposed to meet with Woo in the Mets’ dugout at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to discuss what happened but he didn’t show, sending word through Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz that he wasn’t going to comment further about the exchange. Warthen did decide to issue a written statement on Wednesday night, packaged with accompanying words from Mets general manager Sandy Alderson …

Warthen: “I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse. They were a poor attempt at humor, but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting. I am very sorry.”

Alderson: “On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by of one of our staff members. The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry.”

Warthen has been the Mets’ pitching coach since 2008. He pitched in the majors from 1975-1978.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.