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One scout annoyed, another bolting

The Mets allowed their scouts' contracts to lapse on Nov. 1, and it has cost them one of their most highly regarded scouts.

Bob Johnson, who has served as the advance scout for the Mets in recent years, has defected to the Atlanta Braves in a comparable role. As an advance scout, Johnson stays one to two series ahead of the major league club and prepares reports on upcoming opponents.

Meanwhile, Russ Bove, one of the Mets' professional scout, was informed Monday night that his contract was not being renewed. Bove had overseen the 2005 draft that yielded Mike Pelfrey, Josh Thole, Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese and more recently had been assigned to specific teams. The Mets selected Darren O'Day in the Rule 5 draft two offseasons ago at Bove's recommendation.

Bove said he wasn't annoyed with being fired, because a new GM is entitled to bring in his own people. However, Bove said, he lost out on other opportunities because the organization kept him in the dark for a month without allowing him to talk to other clubs.

"There was no communication letting us know whether we were in or out," Bove said. "They strung us along pretty good. I don't care I'm fired, but to do it on Nov. 1, after the contracts ran out, is totally unprofessional and unprecedented. I talked to a million people and they never heard of that. To not be able to talk to other clubs and leave us hanging is pretty low. But I can understand a new guy comes in and wants to bring in his own people."

UPDATE: Also out: professional scout Duane Larson. And special assistant Sandy Johnson, who was leaning toward retirement a year ago, officially has left the organization. ... Also, there are rumblings that the Mets may have started introductory phone interviews with managerial candidates today.