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Mets fine Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas for altercation with reporter

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On Sunday following a come-from-ahead 5-3 loss to the Cubs, Mets manager Mickey Callaway lost his temper, directing a series of profanities at beat writer Tim Healey of Newsday. Callaway repeatedly called for Healey to be thrown out of the clubhouse. As Healey attempted to leave, pitcher Jason Vargas stared him down and said, “I’ll knock you the f–k out, bro.” Several players and other Mets representatives had to separate Vargas from Healey.

We learned earlier that the Mets aren’t firing Callaway for his behavior. We have also just now learned that the Mets are not suspending Callaway or Vargas, but they will be fined, according to Tim Britton of The Athletic. Addressing the media prior to Monday’s series opener in Philadelphia, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said, “The altercation was disappointing. It was regrettable on many levels.” Van Wagenen does not expect Major League Baseball to levy any additional punishment for Callaway or Vargas, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com adds. Callaway got yet another vote of confidence from the GM as well.

Callaway didn’t offer an apology on Monday. He called Sunday’s altercation “a misunderstanding, obviously,” per DiComo. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon apologized to Healey yesterday. Callaway added, “I don’t need to tell my side. That doesn’t help me in any way.” He thinks his outburst shows that he’s a passionate competitor, per Newsday’s Laura Albanese.

Well, that could’ve gone better. It’s disappointing that Callaway didn’t publicly apologize to Healey. It’s disappointing that he didn’t bother to explain why he acted the way he did. It’s disappointing that he doesn’t seem contrite at all. It’s disappointing that Vargas didn’t apologize when he spoke to the media. In fact, prior to Van Wagenen and Callaway addressing the media, the players elected Jacob deGrom — who wasn’t in the clubhouse when the altercation occurred — to speak on behalf of the players. All deGrom said was, “Our main focus is turning the page.”

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.