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Randolph keeping eye on the ball

Randolph keeping eye on the ball

DENVER -- With his boss in town for some crisis management and a statement of support, Mets manager Willie Randolph may be having trouble distinguishing the fire from frying pan.

It was not immediately evident to Randolph on Saturday whether he should see general manager Omar Minaya's presence as the show of support Minaya claimed it to be or the prelude to an ominous overture.

"I thought I saw him in the back, sharpening his machete, so I don't know if that makes me feel too good," Randolph joked before the middle game of a three-game set with the Rockies. "He saw me coming, and he kind of slipped it in his back pocket. I don't know if that makes me feel any better."

And although Minaya's statements to the media during Friday night's extra-innings loss to Colorado presented an image of a unified front among the Mets brass, Randolph said that Minaya had not expressed those sentiments to him in person, with their conversations limited to "just chit chat like we usually do."

Furthermore, though Minaya discussed a meeting between himself, Randolph and ownership partners Fred and Jeff Wilpon to take place when the team returns to New York, Randolph only acknowledged that the team's standard quarterly-season meetings were on the docket.

"I'm sure I'll see Fred and those guys there," Randolph said. "We'll go over the team. We'll say what we've got to say and go from there. We were going to have something like that coming up in the next week or so, anyway, to reevaluate the team."

Minaya had discussed a much different agenda, stressing that it was not about Randolph defending his job but about giving the manager a chance to explain to ownership in a face-to-face meeting the controversial comments he had made earlier in the week regarding his portrayal on SNY Mets broadcasts, when Randolph notably raised the issue of race. Randolph had since apologized for his comments and placed a call to Fred Wilpon that had not been returned.

"I don't want to rehash [in the media] what went on," Randolph said. "I don't have a problem with what went down. It shouldn't have happened, and I'm just going to leave it like that. I'm at peace and fine with what I went through this week, because I know in my heart it didn't happen that way. You deal with it. You stay focused on what you're doing. And you keep going."

Part of Randolph's apparent reluctance to fully embrace Minaya's trip to Colorado could be tied to Minaya's coming up short in categorically stating that Randolph's job was not on the line.

"Willie Randolph is our manager," Minaya said on Friday when asked if Randolph's job was in imminent danger. "He has my support. He has our ownership's support. I am here to support Willie."

Ultimately, the questions about his job seemed to be secondary to Randolph, who remains more focused on doing his job and helping his team break out of a five-game slump than on analyzing and interpreting the motives of his general manager.

"They talk about the kiss of death and all that stuff," Randolph said on Saturday. "Sometimes it comes like that. But listen, I'm just so hell-bent on winning the game right now, that whether Omar's here or not, whether they support me or not, to me, it's irrelevant, really. It's going to be what it's going to be. I'll go down to the last day trying to win a ballgame. That's why I'm here."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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