Mets fine Callaway, Vargas after incident

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New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas have been fined by the team following a confrontation with a reporter in the clubhouse Sunday.

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who announced the fines Monday, called the incident “disappointing” and “regrettable.”

Callaway offered no apology Monday, calling the incident a “misunderstanding.”

“Obviously, for things like that to happen, it’s always a misunderstanding. I’m sure there was no malintent by either, it’s just something that happened and we have to move forward obviously,” Callaway told reporters Monday afternoon.

Later, Callaway added, “Billy Martin punched a reporter one time. It’s part of this game. … Hey, I’m a passionate guy about baseball, I’m a tough competitor. Sometimes you’ll see it with the umpires, sometimes you’ll see it with the players. The thing is you guys don’t need to see it directed toward you guys. You guys have a job to do, I understand that, always understood that, and you guys don’t need to see it directed toward you. That’s the number one thing.”

Van Wagenen did not comment when asked whether the Mets considered suspending Callaway or Vargas. The Mets do not expect Major League Baseball to further punish either Callaway or Vargas, according to Van Wagenen.

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

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 a “m—–f—–.” 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 shouted at him, including saying, “I’ll knock you the f— out, bro,” according to a Yahoo! Sports account. He eventually tried to move toward Healey but was held back by teammates, including Carlos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard.

“The situation that happened yesterday I think was unfortunate for all parties,” Vargas told reporters on Monday. “An unfortunate distraction. … The team addressed the situation, the organization made a statement. And that’s really all there is to it.”

Vargas then left without taking any questions.

Healey said Sunday night that Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon called him “to apologize on behalf of the organization.”

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