No vote of confidence for Mets coaches

Updated: July 25, 2010, 9:56 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

LOS ANGELES -- New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya declared manager Jerry Manuel's job safe at the start of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Minaya would offer no such assurances for hitting coach Howard Johnson and the rest of Manuel's staff Sunday, after the Mets failed to score during the final 16 innings of the trip and were blanked 1-0 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Asked specifically if the entire staff would be in their current roles when the Mets return to action Tuesday at Citi Field against the St. Louis Cardinals, Minaya offered no guarantee.

"I don't want to talk about that," Minaya said. "I feel everybody here is trying hard. I could tell you the staff is trying hard. If you ask me [about] the overall performance that has happened, of course I'm not happy. Nobody is happy.

[+] EnlargeLuis Castillo
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillEven with regulars like Luis Castillo back from injury, the Mets hit just .196 during their 11-game trip.

"Guys are doing the best they can. But we're going to continue to sit down with Jerry and continue to evaluate how we can get better."

Invited again to fully quash speculation regarding the coaching staff's future, Minaya said: "That's all I'm going to say."

Minaya watched two legs of the trip to San Francisco, Arizona and Los Angeles as the Mets struggled at the plate and went 2-9 to open the second half of the season. In addition to the current 16-inning scoreless drought, the Mets also had 24- and 17-inning droughts during the West Coast swing and were shut out four times -- one shy of the franchise record for getting blanked on a single road trip, five times in May 1964.

The Mets averaged 2.1 runs per game on this trip and hit .196.

"We're going to get back on the plane, me and Jerry, and talk some," Minaya said. "Everything is fair when you have a trip like this. You have to sit down and assess how you're going to get it right and what needs to be done to get it right. We're just not going to sit back. All of us are going to work hard, and we are working hard to find a way how to get it straight."

Johnson would appear the most vulnerable, even if he was a beloved member for the 1986 championship team. He ascended from first base coach to hitting coach on July 12, 2007, when Rick Down was fired from the position.

On Thursday, Johnson said about his job security: "I think at this level you get hired to get fired at some point. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but you deal with it. That's the reality of sports. We're trying to set a standard here and we've scuffled. Hey, this organization has been solid. I don't feel any pressure that way or anything like that. It's nothing like that."

The organization's minor league hitting coordinator is Lamar Johnson, who served as the Kansas City Royals hitting coach from 1999-2002, and in the same capacity with the Seattle Mariners in '03. He played nine seasons in the major leagues, primarily for the Chicago White Sox.

The Triple-A hitting coach is Jack Voigt, who was on the Washington Nationals staff in 2005.

As for the Mets' second-half play, which has dropped their record to 50-49, Minaya said: "I knew coming into this trip that it was going to be a tough trip right off the break. The bottom line is this is not the results that we hoped for coming in, understanding the West Coast can be tough at times.

"What I saw is definitely that we pitched, but we didn't hit. Once in a while we hit some balls hard, like today, that were hit right at them. It's a tough road trip. Good teams bounce back. I think we're going to bounce back. I think that the guys are going to bounce back. We still have a lot of baseball left."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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