Looks like hitting coach Howard Johnson is not going down without a fight.
Clearly taken aback by Jerry Manuel calling his offense "pathetic" after Thursday's 3-2 loss in Houston, Johnson rounded up players Friday for a "hitters-only" meeting in the indoor batting cages next to the visitors clubhouse at PNC Park.
As one player described it, Johnson called out each player individually, citing what they needed to do better. The meeting was further described as "uncomfortable" but "necessary" and not contentious between the Mets and Johnson.
"He told us that if you're hitting .230 at this point in the season, then guess what, you're a .230 hitter, even if you hit .275 over your career," one Met said.
According to a player, Johnson further went on to say that it's not going to change by "coming into the clubhouse and playing cards every day." Johnson did not criticize individuals for playing cards, but asked everyone what they are trying to do to get better.
"I think as a group yesterday we came to some agreements as far as what we were going to try to do," Johnson said Saturday. "We were going to try and be the aggressor and we’re going to try to dictate what happens up there. I kind of felt like we had guys kind of going in different directions.
"There’s a line that you can cross, and that becomes detrimental. When you have a bat in your hand, you’re supposed to the aggressor, you know? You’re supposed to be up there and the pitcher out there has got to be able to fear what you’re capable of doing."
Johnson is well-liked by the Mets, and the message seems to have been received enthusiastically. They responded with 15 hits in Friday's 7-2 win over the Pirates.