GM on skirmish: 'These guys are competitive'

deGrom 'ready to roll' for Sunday vs. D-backs

May 8th, 2021

NEW YORK -- A day after Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil insisted that a debate over a rodent was the cause of their apparent clubhouse skirmish, Mets general manager Zack Scott said that he wished the players had handled the situation differently, but that he was fine with the ultimate outcome.

Lindor’s insistence that he and McNeil were fighting over a clubhouse critter helped the story make national headlines, as well as the back pages of every daily New York tabloid.

“The best way to handle these things is typically just to be as transparent as you can be, without divulging things that people don’t want out there,” Scott said. “As a Northeasterner, we like straightforwardness. We like feeling like we’re getting honesty, even if it’s things we don’t want to hear.

“I’m not saying that to criticize what the players decided to do last night, necessarily. That wouldn’t be my recommendation, and no one with the organization would make the recommendation to handle it that way. But that’s what they chose to do for whatever their reasons and I think it was … essentially a no-comment.”

Following an episode in which Lindor and McNeil appeared to engage in a heated argument between innings, the players said that they were simply discussing whether they had seen a rat, a raccoon or a possum in the clubhouse tunnel between innings. The response, which other teammates echoed on social media, served to inflame the story through its absurdity.

“Clearly, it’s something that they didn’t want to get into too much detail about, so I respect that and I know kind of the code of the clubhouse,” Scott said. “These guys are competitive. They want to win. They are like a family. They spend so much time together. And just like a family, sometimes there are disputes and debates and arguments. But at the end of the day, you go out there and grind out a great win and you walk away still brothers, still family.

“They can choose to handle things the way they want. Probably not ideal. … When something’s not that big a deal, why make something into more of a story than it needs to be? They were obviously having fun with it a little bit. But to me, the interpretation of what they were saying was essentially: They didn’t really want to comment on it and they wanted to keep it in-house, which I respect.”

Asked if they are concerned about the relationship between Lindor and McNeil, both Scott and manager Luis Rojas insisted that they don’t anticipate any future issues. Scott acknowledged that his middle infielders have had some trouble perfecting chemistry in what is essentially their third month together as double-play partners. But Scott and Rojas said that whatever happened between them in the clubhouse Friday is already in the past.

“The guys are getting along great,” Rojas said. “You’re going to see it out there. This is not an act. Guys are going to be playing. They’re going to be having fun and they’re just going to be doing what they do every night. Yesterday just made us better, I think, as a family and as a team. I’m just going to leave it at that.”

deGrom good to go

Mets ace Jacob deGrom is ready to start Sunday’s series finale against the D-backs after skipping his last outing due to a bout of right lat tightness. deGrom threw a bullpen session Friday with no ill effects.

“Anytime you’re talking about someone that special, it’s a relief whenever there’s any kind of potential health issue,” Scott said. “It wasn’t something that anyone thought was a major issue. He did throw his bullpen and was throwing 98 [mph] and looking good. So he’s ready to roll for tomorrow. It was definitely a relief.”

From the trainer’s room

Both Noah Syndergaard and Seth Lugo, who are recovering from right elbow surgeries, are scheduled to begin Minor League rehab assignments within the next week or so. The timelines have not changed for either player. Syndergaard, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, is due back around mid-June. Lugo, who had a bone spur removed from his elbow, could return by late May.