CINCINNATI — Mets manager Luis Rojas was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for "excessive arguing" with umpires Sunday in Pittsburgh, MLB announced Monday afternoon.
That meant Rojas had to sit out the Mets’ series opener against the Reds on Monday and will have to do so again Tuesday.
Rojas was not allowed to appeal the punishment, he said.
"I’m not fighting it," he said. "I’ve never been suspended in any league that I’ve managed. I always thought there was going to be an appeal, but I didn’t get the chance to. Like I said, I’m not fighting it. It is what it is at this point.
"Obviously, I’m a little upset that I’m going to be missing the next two games. The league’s gotta do what they gotta do, right? We know how things sometimes get heated up. Yesterday, that particular play led me to be that way."
That particular play was a bizarre sequence in the first inning Sunday. Pittsburgh’s Kevin Newman hit a weak ground ball that rolled along the third-base line, and Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker — thinking it was foul — batted it away. When plate umpire Jeremy Riggs called it fair, Walker ignored the ball, which he said he thought was out of play, and argued with Riggs. Three Pirates scored before Walker eventually retrieved the ball.
That made Rojas unhappy. He directed his rage toward — and made physical contact with — Riggs. At various points, Rojas was held back by crew chief/second-base ump Larry Vanover and three Mets coaches.
Rojas said Monday he still thought it was a foul ball. The play was not reviewable.
"A play like this should be reviewable moving forward," Rojas said. "I would love to have a play like that be reviewable, even though it’s in front of the umpires because we’re still human and we can still see things that are not. It’s normal. Every day we make mistakes and I think we can take advantage of technology."
After the Mets overcame a six-run deficit to win the game, Rojas said some players and personnel joked with him about his show of extreme emotion, which is uncommon for him. Walker said Sunday that the Mets were all "fired up."
"My intention is not to get a suspension," Rojas said. "But my intention will always be to fight for the guys out there."
The terms of Rojas’ suspension include needing to leave the clubhouse after batting practice, which on Monday concluded about 45 minutes before first pitch. He said he planned to remain at the ballpark and watch the game from a suite with assistant general manager Ian Levin, the ranking executive on site.
Bench coach Dave Jauss filled in for Rojas. Acting as bench coach was Brian Schneider, whose title is major-league field coordinator, sort of the bench coach’s bench coach.
Rojas’ absence did not require a change in the Mets’ pregame preparation, he said.
Instead of Rojas, Jauss and Schneider sitting together in the dugout making decisions (with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner involved when relevant), it’ll be just the latter two.
Said Rojas, "We [the coaches] all know each other very well and we’ve been working hard since the offseason, since this group got together, we shared how we operate and how we think pregame, how we think throughout games and how we use the data in different ways to prepare."
And as he put it later: "Let’s go, let’s get started with the suspension and let’s get it over with.
"I’m just going to sit back, wherever I can, and watch the game, be rooting for the guys and be paying attention to some of the details that I can’t pay attention to. Also take notes myself when I’m back in there Wednesday with them."
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