Less than 24 hours after Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil told reporters that a commotion in the dugout was caused by a rat (or was it a raccoon? A possum?) in the dugout, Mets acting general manager Zack Scott wasn’t going to relitigate the issue, but suffice it to say they likely won’t need to be calling pest control out to Citi Field any time soon.
“Clearly, it’s something that they didn’t want to get into too much detail about,” Scott said on Saturday. “So I’ll respect that and know the code of the clubhouse.”
Someone who is in the clubhouse every day is manager Luis Rojas, who said he spoke to both players following the game and is confident that not only will the team be able to move forward from Friday’s incident, but that they already have.
“I think yesterday, just from talking to each player, I’m going to use the family concept again,” Rojas said. “We get along like a family. We’re brothers, everything that happens in a family happens here. There are agreements, there are disagreements, but at the end of the day they both make us better. We’re a better ballclub today because of what happened last night. I’m not going to expand on it, but what I can tell you is that we’re together today.”
Rojas did go into a bit of detail, though, and confirmed that the disagreement stemmed from miscommunication on balls hit up the middle, between McNeil and Lindor.
“The communication on ground balls is something that Francisco is very active on, and McNeil is as well,” Rojas said. “One gets in agreement with the other, either someone’s going to cut in front or another is going to behind, and that’s how it should be. It’s happened a couple times where they both go into the same lane and they have to put on the brakes and the ball gets through.”
So that’s that, no animals were harmed in the making of this mini-controversy. Though Scott did say he’s unsure why the players chose to go that route with their explanation on Friday.
“You’d have to ask the players that, why they chose to handle it that way,” Scott said. “It’s not how I’d go. And I think what’s unfortunate is that it’s now a little bigger story than it needs to be, and it takes away from one of our biggest wins of the year.”
But after that walk-off win, both Scott and Rojas are ready to build on that, as opposed to focusing on the extracurricular activity surrounding it.
“The body language was good, the two of them in the on-deck circle at the start of the ninth inning,” Scott said. “Jeff gave some encouragement and I think everything looked good.”
“At the end of the night, we were closer together,” Rojas said. “And today we’re a better ballclub because of it.”