Mets finally make move

ANAHEIM, Calif. --- New York Mets manager Willie Randolph was fired because the losses and the speculation about his job were hurting the team.

That's what general manager Omar Minaya said Tuesday after Randolph's awkward dismissal was announced in a matter-of-fact news release in the dead of night.

With the Mets below .500 and still wobbling from last year's colossal collapse, rumors about Randolph's status built to a crescendo over the weekend. Minaya said the tension went on "far too long."

"It was not fair to the team, it was not fair to Willie Randolph, it was not fair to the organization," Minaya said, several hours before the Mets played the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Bench coach Jerry Manuel was promoted to manage the Mets and will stay in that position for the rest of the year.

"I'm really stunned by it," Randolph said as he left the team hotel shortly before noon. "I was surprised by it."

Minaya said he made the decision Monday and stressed it was his alone.

He met with Randolph at the Mets' team hotel after Monday's 9-6 win over the Angels.

"I think he was resigned to it. When all is said and done, I think he was relieved," Minaya said.

At 34-35, the Mets never found any consistency.

"Is it Willie only? No, it's us," Minaya said. "I can't replace 25 players. And the players care. The players give 100 percent."

"It just wasn't working," he said. "I think the players were pressing."

Randolph became the first manager in the majors to get fired this season, a move the Mets released in an e-mail around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto also were fired.

in an enormous overhaul.

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