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Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas curse out, threaten journalist

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The Mets narrowly missed out on a series sweep of the Cubs, dropping Sunday’s game 5-3. Javier Báez hit a go-ahead three-run home run off of Seth Lugo, proving to be the game-winning hit. Closer Edwin Díaz never made it into the game.

After the game, manager Mickey Callaway spoke to the media and that’s when tempers began to flare. Callaway snapped at Matt Ehalt of Yahoo Sports, who asked why Díaz wasn’t utilized. Callaway responded, “Why? Because you think so?”

According to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, Newsday’s Tim Healey said, “See you tomorrow, Mickey,” after speaking to him in the clubhouse, which apparently went normal. Callaway thought Healey was being sarcastic, so he responded, “Don’t be a smartass,” then called Healey a “motherf—er.” Callaway then walked up to Healey and began swearing and mocking the way he talked.

Callaway demanded Healey leave the clubhouse. Healey explained he meant no offense. Following that, Vargas stared Healey down, saying, “I’ll knock you the f–k out, bro.” Teammates Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Gómez, among others, had to separate Vargas and Healey.

Things are not going so great in Mets land. After Sunday’s loss, the club is nine games out of first place, sitting in fourth with a 37-41 record. Callaway’s decision-making has frequently undergone scrutiny, enough that his job has been thought to be in jeopardy even as ownership has publicly given him votes of confidence. The frustration boiled over into a completely unnecessary confrontation with a reporter.

According to Tim Britton of The Athletic, the Mets plan to publicly address Sunday’s incident on Monday. The club is currently traveling from Chicago to Philadelphia to begin a four-game series. This is, obviously, not a great look for the Mets so they certainly wouldn’t have been able to escape Monday without being asked about it. It will be interesting to see how the Wilpons and GM Brodie Van Wagenen choose to handle the situation. Will they publicly back Callaway and Vargas or actually take a stand against such unprofessional behavior?

Update: The Mets have released a statement. Per Britton, the Mets said:

The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today’s game in the clubhouse. 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.”

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.