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Mets players 'happy' to hear news that Mickey Callaway likely to return next season

Mets manager Mickey Callaway looks on from the

Mets manager Mickey Callaway looks on from the dugout before an game against the Nationals at Citi Field on July 13. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Mets players reacted positively to the news, reported by Newsday on Sunday, that first-year manager Mickey Callaway is expected to be back on the job in 2019 despite the team’s disappointing record this year.

“Absolutely, we are happy,” outfielder Michael Conforto said Monday during a visit to the Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. “I don’t know much about managing, but I can imagine it can’t be easy as a first-year head coach. There’s so much going on and so much to learn, but he’s a great guy. We all like him a lot, and we’re all very happy he’ll be back. We all expected it.”

“I like it. I think he’s a great guy; I think he’s a good coach,’’ pitcher Seth Lugo said Monday before the Mets opened a three-game series against the Reds. “I think we’ve had some tough luck this year. I like the idea of him coming back.’’

Lugo, 3-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 37 games (five starts) this season, said Callaway has been approachable and is willing to listen when players need to talk.

“Nobody on this team wants the season to be going the way it’s going,’’ Lugo said. “But I think to just start trying, new manager — I don’t think that’s what we need to do. I think we’ve got to look to ourselves, figure it out as a team.’’

The Mets had high expectations this season, but after an 11-1 start, things quickly went sour. Injuries to major cogs in the lineup, most notably Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce, undermined the offense. The Mets were 45-64 entering Monday.

“We’ve had to definitely work through a lot of things, work through on a lot of injuries, especially on the position player side — myself included,’’ catcher Kevin Plawecki said. “You saw what we were capable of the first week and a half, two weeks of the season. I know that’s a very small sample size, but you saw the team we were capable of being. Obviously, things haven’t gone the way we’ve liked, but if you looked at half of our losses and flipped them into wins — which easily could have happened, clearly, [since] a lot of them were close ballgames, one pitch here, one hit there — things could be drastically different.’’

Plawecki acknowledged that Callaway, who was the pitching coach for the Indians for five years before being hired by the Mets, had a learning curve as a first-year manager, but he said he hasn’t seen a change in Callaway after things went bad.

“No, I definitely haven’t noticed a change,’’ he said. “I think that your true character comes out when things don’t go well, and he’s been the same person from the start of the year to now, and I think that’s the testament to the kind of person he is and the kind of coach he is, and I think that’s important. And I think that’s why all of us come in with the energy that we do.

“There’s certain ways you can handle adversity, and I think the best way to do that is by staying even-keeled and treating every day the same — win, loss, draw — I think it’s important to have the same mindset every day, and I’ve definitely seen that from him.’’

Of course, the Mets are looking for a new general manager after Sandy Alderson stepped down in June. If someone from outside the organization were to be hired for that job, the new GM would be coming in without the power to hire his own manager.

“Hopefully they [would] get along and they’re on the same page,” Robert Gsellman said, “so we can all turn the page next year, at the same time, and just win.”

 With John Boell

New York Sports