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Peterson, Nieto also out

ANAHEIM, Calif. - When Omar Minaya revamps, he believes

in multiple changes. That was his rationale for dismissing not only Willie

Randolph late Monday night, but also pitching coach Rick Peterson and

first-base coach Tom Nieto.

The Mets also removed Sandy Alomar from the third-base coaching box,

reassigning him to be the bench coach for interim manager Jerry Manuel. That

would usually be viewed as a promotion, but Alomar's incompetence as third-base

coach had become apparent this season.

To make up for these changes, the Mets welcomed three new coaches to their

staff last night. Dan Warthen replaced Peterson as the pitching coach, Ken

Oberkfell became the first-base coach and Luis Aguayo is now the third-base

coach.

"I think, when I looked at it, I thought we just needed to make a change,"

Minaya said. "I thought one move was not going to be enough."

Pressed on why specifically Peterson and Nieto went, Minaya said, "I think

that the way ... some of the pitching situations have been handled, I've been

evaluating those things. And pitching decisions are just not done by one

person. Pitching decisions are done by the manager and the pitching coach."

Nieto's greatest sin appeared to be that he was Randolph's friend. Randolph

brought Nieto aboard as the catching instructor in 2005.

Peterson's time with the Mets predated both Minaya's time as general

manager and Randolph's as manager. Jim Duquette hired Peterson, previously the

Athletics' pitching coach, in the 2003-04 offseason. Peterson quickly forged a

strong relationship with owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and he found success

working with pitchers like Tom Glavine, John Maine, Aaron Heilman and Oliver

Perez.

But Peterson's personality - he tended to speak in long, analogy-ridden

phrases - ultimately wore out some of his superiors. As did his bullpen

management.

"I appreciated the opportunity," said Peterson, the only holdover from the

Art Howe era. "[The Wilpons] welcomed me into their home and the home is going

through renovation. I grew up in the baseball business, and I'm the hardwood

floor that's getting ripped out and they're going to bring in the Tuscany tile."

Warthen, who had served as the pitching coach for Triple-A New Orleans,

previously worked as a major-league pitching coach with the Tigers (1999-2002),

Padres (1996-97) and Mariners (1992). He vowed to lower the pitch counts of

pitchers like Maine by urging them to challenge hitters earlier in the count.

"I think velocity plays a big part," Warthen said yesterday. "I like high

fastballs."

Oberkfell, who played with broadcaster Keith Hernandez on the World Series

champion 1982 Cardinals, was managing New Orleans and managed in the Mets' farm

system since 2002.

Aguayo had been serving as the Mets' field coordinator.

Changing horses

Since division play began in 1969, 11 teams have advanced to the playoffs

after changing managers in midseason, though many other changes were made that

didn't work. Two of those teams (1978 Yankees, 2003 Marlins) won the World

Series:

Year Team Manager fired Replacement Result

2005 Astros Jimy Williams Phil Garner Lost World Series

2003 Marlins Jeff Torborg Jack McKeon Won World Series

1996 Dodgers Tom Lasorda Bill Russell Lost division series

1989 Blue Jays Jimy Williams Cito Gaston Lost ALCS

1988 Red Sox John McNamara Joe Morgan Lost ALCS

1983 Phillies Pat Corrales Paul Owens Lost World Series

1982 Brewers Buck Rodgers Harvey Kuehn Lost World Series

1981 Yanks Gene Michael Bob Lemon Lost World Series

1981 Royals Jim Frey Dick Howser Lost ALCS

1981 Expos Dick Williams Jim Fanning Lost NLCS

1978 Yanks Billy Martin Bob Lemon Won World Series

New York Sports