Mets apologize after confrontation with reporter

CHICAGO -- New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway cursed at a reporter, and pitcher Jason Vargas had to be restrained from charging the writer during a confrontation in the team's clubhouse after a loss Sunday.

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.

In a story published by Newsday on Sunday night, Healey said Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon called him "to apologize on behalf of the organization."

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 smartass.'

"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, includingCarlos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard. No punches were thrown during the incident.

Healey told Newsday that Vargas "took a couple of steps toward me.Some people said 'charged' -- 'charged' is super-strong."

Healey left the clubhouse moments later. He said Wilpon called later in the evening to apologize.

"He stressed the fact that I should feel comfortable being able to do my job at the ballpark and that moving forward, there's no reason for me to feel uncomfortable," Healey said. "I appreciated that sentiment from him, absolutely."

The team also issued a statement.

"The Mets sincerely regret the incident that took place with one of our beat writers following today's game in the clubhouse," the statement said. "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."

It has been a trying season for the Mets following an aggressive offseason. The club is 37-41.

Callaway, the Mets' embattled second-year manager, received a vote of confidence from first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in late May after the club was swept by the Marlins in a three-game series in Miami.

The Mets did make a change to their coaching staff Thursday when they fired pitching coach Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez.

New York is set to open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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