MILWAUKEE (AP) — Following his closed-door team meeting after yet another loss Tuesday night, Mets manager Jerry Manuel decided his players should ride the bus to Miller Park late Wednesday morning instead of taking taxis.

Did they sing camp songs on the ride over, in the spirit of team-building?

“Kumbaya?” Manuel asked, laughing.

Manuel said he wanted the Mets, who are depleted by injuries and saddled with a season-high five-game losing streak, to experience a little team togetherness — and perhaps cut some of the tension in their clubhouse along the way.

“We’ve had a tough go lately,” Manuel said. “And we need to exhale a little bit, we need to relax a little bit, and see if we can play better baseball.”

Manuel held a team meeting lasting nearly half an hour after his team lost 6-3 to the Brewers on Tuesday night. But even Manuel didn’t seem convinced that such meetings are particularly effective motivational techniques.

“I don’t know if anything really works,” Manuel said.

Manuel joked that managers usually end up looking like geniuses when they call team meetings the night before their ace pitcher is scheduled to take the mound. That isn’t the case for the Mets, who lost despite having Johan Santana pitch Tuesday and were scheduled to face young Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo on Wednesday.

“For me, it’s always been about making sure that we don’t get too far off the beaten path, that’s all,” Manuel said. “It doesn’t mean that we’ll come out and win or whatever, but just the attitude of how you go about it a little better. Try to get the focus back on the game.”

And Manuel acknowledged his concern about the possibility of players beginning to point fingers at each other.

“Oh, sure,” Manuel said. “That’s just the nature of anybody. That’s life, and you have to try to rein those things in or talk about those things or put those things out there just to see exactly where you are, why, and how detrimental that can be at a time when you’re struggling.”

Manuel still suggests that he wants the team’s front office to get him some help via trade, but acknowledged that saying so could be taken the wrong way in his clubhouse.

“I would agree with that, that it could have been taken that way,” Manuel said. “Whether or not these guys buy into that? That I don’t know.”

Manuel said any team would like help, pointing to the St. Louis Cardinals’ acquisition of Mark DeRosa.

“I could use that piece,” Manuel said. “But I still think I’ve got enough to compete and win. And that’s how our team has to feel.”


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