Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen apologizes for slur directed at Daisuke Matsuzaka’s translator (Big League Stew)

New York Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen was apologetic on Wednesday following an inappropriate exchange with Daisuke Matsuzaka's translator Jeff Cutler on Sunday that reportedly included an ethnic slur. "I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse," Warthen's statement read. "They were a poor attempt at humor, but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting. I am very sorry." According to Stu Woo of the Wallstreet Journal , Warthen personally apologized to Cutler in the Mets clubhouse on Monday after admittedly referring to the 30-year-old Japanese American as a ‘Chinaman’ during an exchange that took place on Sunday. “I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen told Cutler. “It’s OK,” Cutler replied. “I didn’t mean to insinuate –- I know you’re not Chinese,” Warthen said. He paused. “I thought it was a pretty good joke, though.” “It was,” Cutler said, with a small laugh. Cutler went on about his business after accepting Warthen's apology, according to Woo. The comment itself and the apology that followed weren't acknowledged publicly by the team over the next 48 hours. In fact, the entire incident was likely to remain in-house had Woo, a Chinese American himself, not overheard the exchange and brought it to light on Wednesday. I didn’t say anything, but I was startled. As a 27-year-old Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco, I couldn’t remember the last time I heard the term “Chinaman,” a derogatory word originally given by white Americans to Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. I might have heard it used on the grade-school playground, but never before in dozens of NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball locker rooms I’ve been to as a sports reporter. Woo was understandably taken aback when he overheard the exchange and went to Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz in an attempt to set up a meeting with Warthen to discuss his comment. That meeting was scheduled for Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m., but never took place after Warthen decided to withhold commenting. It wasn't until Woo's column was published on Wednesday that the Mets formally addressed the situation. General manager Sandy Alderson released the following statement, but never acknowledged Warthen by name. “On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by of one of our staff members. The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry.” Warthen's apology was also released Wednesday evening, though it's not certain when he actually made the comments based on his reference to yesterday. That would indicate he apologized for something that happened on Tuesday, but Woo's report points to the incident happening over the weekend. Either way, Mets officials, who were obviously very aware of the situation based on Woo's meeting with Horowitz, probably would have been wise to get out ahead of the story with their statements and apologizes. Of course, fully understating and accepting what happened was wrong, taking responsibility for said actions and then apologizing are the most important things. Warthen seemed to handle that on his own, but eliminating any potential for head-scratching and further questioning is important too. The Mets could have done a little better in that regard. - - - - - - - Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Jeff Kent is coaching college baseball (Big League Stew)

Jeff Kent said he never wanted to be a pro ballplayer. He retired from Major League Baseball with more home runs than any other second baseman in history . Kent said he never wanted to be a "Little League" dad. He coaches his son's team. Kent also figured, probably, that he'd never coach college baseball. As of this season, he's a volunteer assistant for the Southwestern University team in Georgetown, Texas. Who could ever say that non-dreams don't come true? Kent, who retired in 2009 after 17 seasons with six different teams, describes himself to KEYE-TV in Austin as "a former pro baseball player who has a lot of knowledge. If I can pass it on to the next kid, hopefully he'll get better from it. If that happens, then cool." After playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and others, what brought Kent to Southwestern, an NCAA Div. III school? Kent makes his home nearby, and he works at a local college baseball development program with Southwestern's new pitching coach, Keith Jackson. Jackson recruited Kent, and here he is, after earning about $86 million playing ball. KEYE reports:

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A’s 2014 television schedule; 146 games on CSN (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area)

Comcast SportsNet California announced on Friday its comprehensive coverage of the two-time defending American League West Champion Oakland Athletics for the 2014 Major League Baseball season, featuring 146 games (144 regular season, 2 spring training), pre- and post-game shows, in-depth nightly news coverage and complete 24/7 online As coverage on CSNCalifornia.com.

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New York Yankees: Big in Japan (Yahoo Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | Unlike the NFL's Dallas Cowboys or the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, Major League Baseball doesn't have a single "America's Team" -- although, as the New York Times' David Waldstein points out this week, the New York Yankees may be in line to be "Japan's Team." The Yankees may have more Facebook "likes" than other MLB clubs, but New York has never been embraced or, as in the case of the Atlanta Braves, marketed as "America's Team." However, this season, the Yankees are in line to do big in Japan.

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Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Jan 18 (The Sports Xchange) - The Los Angeles Angels and right-handed reliever Kevin Jepsen exchanged arbitration figures Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Jepsen is asking for $1.625 million for 2014 while the Angels are offering $1.3 million. Jepsen went 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 45 appearances last year. He struck out 36 and walked 14 in 36 innings. - - - The New York Mets re-signed infielder Omar Quintanilla to a minor league contract, ESPN New York reported. Quintanilla batted .222 in 359 plate appearances last year. ...

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Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Dec 21 (The Sports Xchange) - The Texas Rangers and free-agent outfielder Choo Shin-soo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract, multiple media outlets reported Saturday. Choo reportedly had talks with his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, as well as the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees, among others. The Rangers' biggest offseason priority is to improve their offense. They targeted Choo as a top-of-the-order threat. He had a .423 on-base percentage for Cincinnati this year. ...

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Clean plate: MLB intends to ban collisions at home (The Associated Press)

During his 13-year career as an All-Star catcher, Mike Scioscia earned a reputation for being as tough as anyone when it came to blocking home plate. ''I think everyone is in agreement that the mindless collisions at home plate where a catcher is being targeted by a runner, that needs to be addressed,'' the Los Angeles Angels manager said. We're going back 40 years ago, but the mindset has changed a bit.'' Major League Baseball said Wednesday it intends to eliminate home plate collisions by 2015 at the latest. Pete Rose, who famously flattened Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star game, was bowled over.

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MLB intends to ban plate collisions (The Associated Press)

Pete Rose sounded bowled over. Charlie Hustle, who famously flattened Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star game, couldn't believe Major League Baseball intends to eliminate home-plate collisions by 2015 at the latest. ''What are they going to do next, you can't break up a double play?'' Rose said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after MLB announced its plan Wednesday. Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball.'' New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, made the announcement at the winter meetings, saying the change would go into effect for next season if the players' association approved.

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MLB moves toward banning home-plate collisions (The SportsXchange)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Home-plate collisions, long the staple of highlight reels, are soon to become a thing of the past in the major leagues. Major League Baseball's playing-rules committee recommended outlawing the collisions Wednesday during the Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The rule must be approved by both the 30 major league owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association in order for it to be implemented in time for next season. "The exact language and how exactly the rule will be enforced is subject to final determination," said committee chairman Sandy Alderson, the New York Mets' general manager.

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Astros lose 15th straight to finish season 51-111 (Big League Stew)

Mercifully, time finally ran out for the Houston Astros, who lost their 15th straight game Sunday afternoon to close a franchise-worst 51-111 regular season. Hey, it could have been worse. Like a punchy boxer saved by the bell, the Astros won't have a chance to tie the infamous 1899 Cleveland Spiders for the worst losing streak to end a season – 16 games — in Major League Baseball history. The Astros tried to keep their season going with free baseball, but dropped their finale to the New York Yankees, falling 5-1 in 14 innings at Minute Maid Park . The Yankees, too, probably felt relief that their season was over. Mariano Rivera didn't play in the final series, preferring to end his spectacular career at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Left-hander Andy Pettitte ended his career Saturday with a final solid outing in his hometown. Robinson Cano, a free agent reportedly looking for $305 million, sat out Sunday. And his future isn't the only unsettled one in the Bronx. The Astros are another kind of enigma entirely.

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