Sports

Mets manager Luis Rojas suspended for going ballistic

CINCINNATI – As the Mets prepared to open their series against the Reds on Monday, manager Luis Rojas was trying to figure out from where he would watch the game. He ultimately settled on a suite at Great American Ball Park.

The dugout and clubhouse weren’t options, after Rojas was suspended two games by MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill for his outburst at the umpires a day earlier in Pittsburgh.

Bench coach Dave Jauss, who assumed the managerial reins for the final 8 ²/₃ innings on Sunday after Rojas was ejected, will guide the team through Tuesday night’s game.

Rojas said he was “a little upset” to receive the notification he had been suspended and fined (the amount was undisclosed), but had no recourse. Unlike players who can appeal suspensions, managers have no such option for a hearing.

“The explanation in the letter is excessive argument,” Rojas said. “Let’s get started with the suspension and let’s get it over with and I can’t wait to get back in the dugout and watch the guys play a game from my seat.”

Mets manager Luis Rojas was suspended two games for his outburst during the Mets' win over the Pirates on July 18, 2021.
Mets manager Luis Rojas was suspended two games for his outburst during the Mets’ win over the Pirates on July 18, 2021.
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Rojas went ballistic in the first inning at PNC Park after plate umpire Jeremy Riggs ruled that Kevin Newman’s squib along the third-base line was a fair ball. Taijuan Walker had believed the ball was foul and swatted it toward the dugout, and stood in disbelief arguing as all three runners on base scored. Rojas — who on Monday still maintained the ball was foul — was immediately ejected and had to be restrained from going after Reed by crew chief Larry Vanover and members of the Mets’ coaching staff.

“The ball starts foul and it’s tailing back toward foul territory,” Rojas said. “And as the ball is rolling I don’t think it touches the line at all. I just think it’s close to the edge, but there is still a small separation between the ball and the line and that’s when Walker touches it. When Walker touches it, it’s still foul.”

Walker later told Rojas, according to the manager, that he believed the ball had entered the dugout and that is why he didn’t bother pursuing it as the Pirates cleared the bases.

Rojas’ ejection may have fired up the Mets, who rallied from a six-run deficit to win 7-6 after Michael Conforto homered in the ninth, but the manager reiterated that his outburst wasn’t intended to motivate the team.

“My intention will always be to fight for the guys out there and when plays like this happen, what can you do?” he said. “I would love to have a play like that be reviewable, even though it’s in front of the umpires. I think we can take advantage of technology even though the play is right there.”

Rojas is allowed in the clubhouse pregame for meetings and on the field to throw batting practice during his suspension, but has to vacate the scene before first pitch.

“Nothing changes here,” Rojas said. “At this point we all know each other very well. Since this group [of coaches] got together, we shared how we operate and how we think pregame and throughout the game and how we use data and different ways to prepare and how we make some decisions in-game as well.

“We do a lot of meetings and we know how we’re going to approach each team so there is nothing that changes. I am just going to sit back wherever I can to watch the game and be cheering on the guys.”

via

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