NEW YORK — Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor learned from phones messages that the New York Mets had fired hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant Tom Slater, a move that left players unhappy.

New York made the announcement late Monday night, two days after Alonso started to publicly mention the positive assistance of a new batting instructor – someone who, apparently, is fictional.

“I found out on Twitter while I was eating my postgame meal,” Alonso said, explaining he then talked to acting general manager Zack Scott and gave Davis and Slater hugs. “And then I cried at my locker a little bit.”

The slugging first baseman referred to the departed as “Uncle Chili and Uncle Slate, I mean, they’re like family to us.”

“It really caught us all off guard,” Alonso said. “It’s confusing for me, and, listen, I respect everybody who made that decision. But to me, it just doesn’t make sense right now.”

“But I know that the guys coming up, guys coming in have great minds, they’re great people. And I know that people who were in charge in the office know that they want to win, everybody wants to win. But I guess from a results standpoint, from let’s say 2, 2 1/2 years, the results have been there and so to me it still doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Scott was hired by team president Sandy Alderson after new owner Steven Cohen bought the Mets last fall.

Manager Luis Rojas said the coaching changes were an “organization decision … that’s the best way I can share it right now.”

He said he was not concerned a manager change could be coming.

“Those are types of things that I do not think about just because in my field, it’s just very disrespectful to the group here to be worrying about that before worrying about the team,” Rojas said.

The sudden moves, uncommon for this early in a season, were announced after a 6-5 loss at St. Louis.

“It broke my heart. I was sad,” Lindor said. “It hurt me a little bit.”

While the Mets began Tuesday ranked ninth among the 30 teams with .240 batting average, they are last in runs with 76 and home runs with 18. Their .209 batting average with runners in scoring position is 29th and they are dead last with a .143 average with two outs and runners in scoring position.

After Saturday night’s 5-4 win at Philadelphia, had Alonso made a curious reference to the contributions of a new coach.

“We just made a nice, new hire, Donnie,” Alonso said then. “He’s a nice – he’s a great hitting/slash approach coach. Donnie’s been great helping the team. I think Luis forget to mention Donnie. Donnie really helped us today, too.”
Asked to explain further, Alonso said: “He’s a new hire. He’s our like mental-slash-approach coach. I feel like we had a really cool collective like team approach today, and Donnie helped us out, for sure.”

Pushed for Donnie’s name, Alonso said: “I got to ask that, I got to ask Chili – oh, Stevenson, I think that’s it.”

Following Alonso to the interview chair, Michael Conforto smiled when asked.

“Donnie’s a new guy. He made an appearance today at our hitter’s meeting. He’s all about the approach,” Conforto said. “He’s a hitting approach guy. He’s a guy that just gets the boys fired up and ready to go.”

Alonso brought the mystery man again after Sunday night’s 8-7 victory.

“He had some guys in the cage and we were just focusing on ripping heaters,” Alonso said. “And that’s what we did today. We were focused on ripping the fastball around the yard and ripping the heater today was the main focus. We put a lot of runs on the board and we were really locked in. He had some really good words of advice and, yeah, I mean it’s awesome.”

Asked Tuesday about whether his references to a different hitting coach didn’t help Davis’ situation, Alonso replied: “I’m not going to talk about that.”

Scott also refused to address the mysterious coach, Mr. Stevenson.

“You’d have to ask the players about Donnie,” he said Monday night.

Davis didn’t blame Alonso’s and Conforto’s comments for his departure.

“The players were having fun and I know they didn’t mean any harm,” Davis was quoted as saying by the New York Post. “It was a fun time for them, but it probably didn’t help. People were just trying to loosen up as a group and it worked that night. They went out and put some runs on the board. I am all for them enjoying the game.”

Mets staff held a meeting with players on Tuesday that didn’t appear to change any perceptions.

“It’s an explanation that still doesn’t make sense to me right now,” Alonso said.

Lindor, a four-time All-Star, began Tuesday with a .163 average, 151st among 155 qualified batters. He learned of the firings from a text while walking to the team bus.

“Maybe if I would have been hitting a little bit more, maybe he had a job. I don’t know,” Lindor said.

Alonso said teams should not overly rely on analytics, calling himself an “old-school type player.”

“As times keep going on, the game stays the same. I mean, the game has been the same since the Civil War,” he said. “When it’s game time, when it’s my turn to hit in the box, it’s not Luis, its not Chili, it’s not the analytic department that’s in the box hitting. It’s Pete Alonso. It’s me. And that’s the same thing with every single one of those guys in the clubhouse.”

“You got 13 hitters and all those guys, as soon as they step in the box, you might as well take the computer and break the screen, because any time you think about all those numbers in the computer, if you’re in there in that box and thinking, oh, it’s a 2-0 count, he’s 45% changeup, he’s 30% fastball and it’s a certain percent slider, you’re out, you’re a walking out, you’re an out in a helmet,” he said.

Minor league director of hitting development Hugh Quattlebaum becomes the new hitting coach, and director of player development Kevin Howard takes over as assistant hitting coach.

Scott said Quattlebaum and Howard were appointed for the rest of the season and then the team will re-evaluate. Both will be in St. Louis on Tuesday, the Mets said.

The 42-year-old Quattlebaum joined the Mets this offseason after spending the previous three years with Seattle. He was the Mariners’ minor league hitting coordinator from 2018-19 and their assistant hitting coach in the big leagues last season. As a player, he spent four years in the minors with the Detroit Tigers (2000-02) and Baltimore Orioles (2003).

Howard, 39, spent the past six seasons with the Cleveland Indians, including 2019-20 as their minor league hitting coordinator. He played professionally for 12 seasons in the Reds, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, Blue Jays and Cardinals systems, plus two years of Independent ball. He played college ball at Miami and won a national championship in 2001.

The 61-year-old Davis was in his third season as Mets hitting coach. Previously, he held the same job with Oakland, Boston and the Chicago Cubs.

Scott was in the Red Sox front office when they let Davis go.

Slater was in his fourth season as New York’s assistant hitting coach.

REDS: Reliever Amir Garrett was suspended for seven games by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing incident last weekend.

Garrett was penalized for inciting the events in the top of the eighth inning on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

Garrett appealed the discipline, which included a fine. No suspension will be served until the appeals process is complete.

A right-hander who turned 29 on Monday, Garrett struck out Anthony Rizzo with one out in the eighth with the Reds trailing by a run and celebrated by punching himself in the chest several times.

Garrett appeared to yell something in Rizzo’s direction, and Chicago’s Javier Baez yelled at Garrett from the dugout. Garrett took a few steps in that direction, prompting both benches and bullpens to empty.

Baez also was fined.

No punches were thrown and there were no ejections.

CUBS: The Chicago Cubs placed former NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta on the 10-day injured list because of an abrasion on his right thumb.

The Cubs also placed second baseman Nico Hoerner (strained left forearm) and reliever Dan Winkler (right triceps tendinitis) on the IL, recalled left-handed pitcher Kyle Ryan and right-handed pitcher Keegan Thompson and selected infielder Ildemaro Vargas from Triple-A Iowa.

Arrieta, in his second stint with the Cubs after signing as a free agent in the offseason, lasted a season-low 3 1/3 innings in a loss Friday at Cincinnati. Manager David Ross said the Cubs decided to skip Arrieta’s turn in the rotation after he threw a bullpen session on Monday. Adbert Alzolay will start in his place against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Hoerner was hurt in a collision in short center field with outfielder Ian Happ during Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati. Hoerner kneed his teammate in the head and kicked his ribs in what he described as “probably the scariest play I’ve been a part of.”

BREWERS: Outfielder Christian Yelich is going back on the injured list just one day after getting activated.

The Brewers announced Yelich was returning to the IL due to the lower back strain that has bothered the 2018 NL MVP for the last three weeks. The Brewers recalled outfielder Tyrone Taylor from Triple-A Nashville.

Yelich went 2 for 4 on Monday night at Philadelphia in his first game since April 11. He is batting .353 with a .463 on-base percentage, no homers and one RBI in just 10 games.

The back problem caused Yelich to undergo an MRI in late April. Brewers Manager Craig Counsell said the MRI showed no structural damage.


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