Mets David Wright is greeted at the dugout by Mets'...

Mets David Wright is greeted at the dugout by Mets' hitting coach Howard Johnson after Wright scored on Jeff Francoeur's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. (May 25, 2010) Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Add Howard Johnson to the list of organizational casualties from Jerry Manuel's coaching staff.

When Manuel's contract was not renewed and general manager Omar Minaya was relieved of his duties, the Mets planned to retain hitting coach Johnson in some unspecified capacity.

But according to a baseball official familiar with the situation, Johnson turned down the hitting instructor's job for Class A St. Lucie, and he has chosen to cut ties with the organization.

Johnson had been the Mets' hitting coach since 2007, when he took over in midseason for the ousted Rick Down, but came under fire the past two seasons as the club struggled offensively. New general manager Sandy Alderson hired Dave Hudgens to take over for Johnson.

Tuneup for Collins

New manager Terry Collins is looking ahead to his full-squad briefing Monday, so yesterday's talk before the first workout for pitchers and catchers was kind of a tuneup. Collins and Alderson addressed the players - the ownership group took a pass - and the message was simple.

"I hope they understand that I care about them," Collins said. "That I care about this organization and how we're going to do things. I hope I got that across, that there's going to be some energy involved.''

Mets win!

The Mets got their first victory of 2011 Thursday when arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that they were not at fault for calling off an agreement with catcher Yorvit Torrealba on a three-year, $14.4-million contract in November 2007. The two sides had disputed Torrealba's health.

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