PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Just call it Sharknado.
The Mets caused a small social media tempest Friday when infielder Phil Evans posted a picture of Matt Harvey and Mickey Callaway shark fishing as part of a team exercise . . . with Donald Trump Jr. in the background.
The photo, posted on Evans’ Instagram stories — a feature that shows and deletes photos and videos after a 24-hour window — was deleted prematurely after the strong reaction.
On Saturday, Evans and Callaway said the meeting was simply coincidental.
“He just happened to be on the beach fishing,” Callaway said. “I guess it would be the same if we just walked into a restaurant and somebody is in there eating. I don’t think we can control that. I guess I could call the Secret Service and get their schedule and try to schedule things around it. We’ll see if they give it to me.”
Trump Jr., Evans said, was visiting the same beach with his family and ran into the Mets, who were participating in a team-building exercise by way of fishing.
When asked if he expected to cause such a stir, Evans, notably surprised, said, “I didn’t, I didn’t. I thought it was a nice little photo with Mickey and Harvey and he happened to be in the background . . . I wasn’t intending it to be in a political manner.”
Callaway seemed to take it in stride. This is really the first time he’s been thrown into the microscope of the New York market, and he said reactions like that are to be expected.
“I think that it’s New York,” he said. “It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be controversial at times, and we understand that that’s how it is.”
Zack has ‘fire in his eyes’
Callaway said he liked what he saw from Zack Wheeler after reports surfaced that the Mets had signed Jason Vargas, perhaps jeopardizing Wheeler’s spot in the rotation. (The Mets haven’t officially confirmed the Vargas move, which is pending a physical.)
“He’s stepping up for a challenge and a battle to go out there and win that spot,” Callaway said. “He knows that when he’s healthy, he can be one of the best pitchers on this team, and I saw fire in his eyes that he was going to go out there and get that time.”
DiSarcina to help Callaway
Mets bench coach Gary Di Sarcina said he plans to play an active role in helping Callaway make the transition from Indians pitching coach to Mets manager. Callaway has said he will rely on DiSarcina and third-base coach Glenn Sherlock as he navigates the role of first-year manager.
“I think [I’ll help by] preparing him, right around the fifth, sixth, seventh inning, talking more about the offensive side of things because he’s going to fall back on what he’s comfortable in, I assume, which is the pitching side of things — pitch counts, sequences, when to use the bullpen,” DiSarcina said. “I think the most important thing is to physically stand next to him, stand by him and not hold back.”