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Backman, Collins Among 4 Finalists For Mets Manager

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Terry Collins (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images), Wally Backman (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Terry Collins (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images), Wally Backman (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Terry Collins, Bob Melvin, Wally Backman and Chip Hale were scheduled for second interviews for New York Mets manager at this week’s general managers’ meetings.

Melvin was the first for his callback, on Wednesday afternoon, followed by Hale on Wednesday night and Backman and Collins on Thursday, assistant general manager John Ricco announced.

“Assuming all the flights are on time, we should be through the four of them by late afternoon tomorrow,” Ricco said Wednesday.

Collins and Melvin each managed twice previously in the major leagues. Backman and Hale have no big league managerial experience but have both managed in the minors.

Backman played second base for the Mets’ 1986 World Series champions and managed their Class-A Brooklyn farm team this year. Hale was New York’s third-base coach, Collins the minor league field coordinator and Melvin a scout.

“Some veteran guys and some new guys,” Ricco said. “Kind of a good mix.”

New Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who is commuting to Orlando each day, will conduct the second interviews with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, Ricco, vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta, and special assistant J.P. Ricciardi. Owner Fred Wilpon may participate.

“As to whether that’s the end, that remains to be seen,” Ricco said. “We have to see what happens with each of them.”

New York is searching for a replacement for Jerry Manuel, who was fired along with GM Omar Minaya after the team’s second straight losing season. Alderson hopes to make a decision by Thanksgiving.

DeMarlo Hale, Dave Jauss, Ken Oberkfell, Don Wakamatsu and Jose Oquendo were eliminated. Clint Hurdle interviewed, then withdrew to become manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Collins was 224-197 as manager of the Houston Astros (1994-96) and Anaheim Angels (1997-99). He led teams to second-place finishes in each of his first five seasons, then resigned during a nine-game losing streak with players complaining about his managing style.

Melvin managed Seattle (2003-04) and Arizona (2005-09) to a 493-508 record. He was voted NL Manager of the Year after the Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2007; after sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the playoffs, they were swept by the Colorado Rockies in the NL championship series. Arizona fired him in 2009 following a 12-17 start, with then-GM Josh Byrnes saying the team lacked a positive “vibe.”

Backman was hired to manage the Diamondbacks in November 2004, then was fired four days later after The New York Times reported he had been arrested twice and had financial problems. He managed the South Georgia Peanuts of the independent South Coast League in 2007, resigned that August following run-ins with umpires and a press box argument with another team’s radio announcer, then returned three days later and managed the team to the league title. He managed the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League in 2008.

Before the Mets hired him a year ago, Hale was third base and infield coach for the Diamondbacks for three seasons. He managed their Triple-A Tuscon farm team from 2004-06.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

pixy Backman, Collins Among 4 Finalists For Mets Manager
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