Minaya says he has apologized

NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Omar Minaya apologized to a beat reporter for questioning his motives and credibility during a bizarre news conference. The writer accepted, saying the GM's "remorse was sincere."

Minaya said Thursday he had a good meeting with New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin a day earlier. But the GM didn't retract his remarks when asked repeatedly if he stood by his critical comments Monday while announcing the firing of executive Tony Bernazard.

"Me and Adam had a conversation, we had a conversation that stays between us," Minaya said in the Mets' dugout before New York split a day-night doubleheader against Colorado. "I'm very comfortable that in the conversation and my apology to Adam, and, as I said before, those are comments that I should not have made."

In a statement posted on the Daily News' Web site, Rubin said: "I appreciated Omar traveling into Manhattan on Wednesday to meet with me in person. His remorse was sincere. I've accepted his apology and I am ready to continue my job as Mets beat writer for the Daily News."

Minaya's job security has come into question in the wake of a series of embarrassing articles written by Rubin about Bernazard, a top Minaya lieutenant and longtime friend.

After announcing Bernazard's dismissal Monday, Minaya said Rubin had "lobbied" him and others in the front office, including Bernazard, for a job in player development. Rubin denied he had asked Minaya for a job and insisted he had merely sought career advice.

Minaya said Thursday he let his emotions get to him and felt bad about his remarks.

"I should have never talked about those things that day," he said. "I should've never said those things and that's what I told Adam and I apologize."

Asked whether he believes Rubin was trying to get a job with the Mets, he said: "My thoughts were what they were. For me to think those things, those thoughts were wrong."

Minaya also apologized to the club's owners and fans, admitting the situation had become a distraction. Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon acknowledged Tuesday that Minaya made a mistake by singling out Rubin. Wilpon said Minaya would remain the GM but also put him on notice, saying "ownership is not happy with the direction of the team."

The front-office mess had cast a shadow over an encouraging week for the Mets, who have won five of six heading into a four-game series against Arizona. New York also received a couple of encouraging reports about their injured stars over the past couple of days.

Center fielder Carlos Beltran, on the disabled list since June 22 with a bone bruise on his right knee, said Wednesday he hopes to return in two to three weeks. Gary Sheffield (strained right hamstring) is expected to be ready when he's eligible to come off the DL this weekend, and former closer Billy Wagner could start a rehab assignment Saturday after missing the entire season following elbow surgery.

"I heard he was pitching awfully well," manager Jerry Manuel said.

Noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews also confirmed the original diagnosis of shoulder weakness for right-hander John Maine, who will continue his rehab program at the club's spring facility in Florida.

Manuel wasn't anticipating any major moves ahead of Friday's non-waiver trade deadline but Minaya said he was continuing to work the phones, even with the controversy swirling around him.

"I've been calling around. We have some ideas," he said. "The fact is it is a distraction but as far as on the baseball side for the past couple of days I've been talking to teams."