NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets fired team executive Tony Bernazard on Monday following a series of blowups that involved closer Francisco Rodriguez and minor league players.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya said it was his decision to let Bernazard go. Minaya made the announcement before Monday night’s game against Colorado.

Bernazard was the vice president of player development for the Mets. The team had been investigating a report that he challenged members of their Double-A Binghamton affiliate to fight him during a postgame tirade this month.

Bernazard also recently got into a heated conversation Rodriguez, the team’s All-Star reliever.

A scrappy infielder in the majors from 1979-1991, the 52-year-old Bernazard had held the Mets’ job since December 2004. Prior to that post, he was a special assistant to the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The New York Daily News reported that while visiting the Binghamton Mets, Bernazard took off his shirt while talking in the clubhouse to players and challenged them to a fight.

The Mets have struggled this year on the major and minor league levels. Beset by injuries, New York began the week 10½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. Triple-A Buffalo has the worst record in the International League and Double-A Binghamton has the poorest record in the Eastern League.

Bernazard hit .262 with 75 home runs and 391 RBIs with Montreal, the Chicago White Sox, Seattle, Cleveland and Detroit.


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