Mets investigating Bernazard's actions
Player development chief reportedly had string of outbursts
NEW YORK -- Only the losses have mounted more quickly than the injuries for the Mets this summer. The injuries have stripped the team's roster. Together, the losses and injuries have bruised the Mets' confidence and resolve.
And now the team faces reports of alleged incidents involving Tony Bernazard, the club's vice president for player development.
Several news accounts of incidents involving Bernazard have been reported in the New York Daily News -- Bernazard confronting a Mets employee at Citi Field, Bernazard confronting the Mets' Double-A Binghamton players and Bernazard confronting Francisco Rodriguez last week. The club says it is investigating.
"I've talked to him and I'll continue to talk to him," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said in a dugout meeting with reporters in Washington on Wednesday. "We'll sit down and talk this weekend. I've notified him we'll investigate these things, and then I'll sit down with our owners and ask how are we going to handle this."
A report in Thursday's edition of the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton quotes the B-Mets manager and a player as refuting the original report printed in the Wednesday editions of the Daily News.
The Daily News report stated Bernazard had challenged players to a flight following their July 1 game in Binghamton. It also said Bernazard had removed his shirt before challenging players and that he had singled out shortstop Jose Coronado at one point. Alleged underage drinking among the team's players was a motivation for Bernazard's anger, the Daily News said, citing a source within the organization
"I think it's been blown out of proportion," the Binghamton newspaper quoted B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras as saying. "Tony was trying to pump the players up. He took his shirt off, but he had a T-shirt on underneath. To me, he never threatened anybody or asked anybody to fight. Before he started the meeting, he took his shirt off. That's it. I'm telling you, it's been blown out of proportion."
The paper quoted Coronado as having said. "No, he didn't call me a name or ask me to fight."
"We do take these matters very seriously and we are going to investigate these reports," Minaya said.
The GM said he believed Bernazard was spending the remainder of the week at his home in New Jersey. Newsday reported that a person familiar with the situation said Minaya had no intention of dismissing Bernazard after the Daily News story surfaced and that he was unlikely to alter his position.
"Put it this way: You never like to have these reports out there," Minaya said. "But when you have a big department, these things happen, and what you need to do once the reports are out is make sure that you kind of look at them."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.