Mets owner confirms Minaya's job is safe

Mets owner confirms Minaya's job safe

NEW YORK -- Whatever changes are in the offing for the Mets before Opening Day 2010 will involve neither general manager Omar Minaya nor manager Jerry Manuel. Owner Fred Wilpon seemingly laid the blame for the Mets' poor season on other factors -- the spate of injuries that has undermined the team's batting order and starting rotation -- Saturday when he indicated Minaya would return.

Wilpon, who has assumed an increasingly inconspicuous role in the operation of the team in the past two years, was quoted by The New York Post on Sunday as saying, "Am I going to bring Omar back next year? Absolutely. That's a fact." The newspaper also reported that Minaya appeared inclined to retain Manuel: "Jerry is my guy," Minaya said to the Post.

Manuel said that although assurances from the general manager are nice, they won't affect the way he manages the team over the season's final 39 games.

"I appreciate those things, but we're still trying to win games," Manuel said Sunday. "It doesn't change how we go about things."

The Post report came weeks after Wilpon's son, COO Jeff Wilpon, had told Minaya and Manuel each had his support.

A three-year contract extension the Mets negotiated with Minaya in October takes effect next year. Manuel is signed through the 2010 season. The Mets have options on both contracts.

The injuries have been the critical factor in the Mets losing 66 of their first 123 games. But the club's lack of effective replacement players and Minaya's recent episode involving his lieutenant Tony Bernazard and reporter Adam Rubin had prompted speculation that Minaya's job was in jeopardy. If it had been, Manuel's job might have been jeopardized, too.

In the news conference announcing Bernazard's dismissal, Minaya criticized Rubin, who first investigated Bernazard's behavior.

Jeff Wilpon issued a public apology, and Minaya later apologized in private to the reporter.

Marty Noble is a reporter for Associate reporter Tim Britton contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.