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Saturday, May 28, 2022

MLB rumors: Mets’ Buck Showalter couldn’t hire ex-Yankees coach due to COVID vaccine policy

Much has been written about the New York Mets’ quest to copy the New York Yankees.

After all, new hires Billy Eppler (general manager), Buck Showalter (manager) and Eric Chavez (hitting coach) all have deep ties to the Bronx.

The list would’ve included Brian Butterfield as well, except for one thing: He’s not vaccinated for COVID-19.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports Butterfield was Showalter’s minor-league teammate in 1982 with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate in Nashville, Tenn. Butterfield also was Showalter’s first base coach with the Yankees in 1994 and 1995.

According to Rosenthal, Showalter “reached out” to Butterfield after being hired last month by the Mets, “but Butterfield said because he was unvaccinated, the talks could not proceed.”

“It comes down to what I believe in,” Butterfield said. “The stuff that I’ve felt for years about our Food and Drug Administration, everything that goes on behind the vaccinations, I have real strong feelings about not wanting to put that into my body.”

Rosenthal reports Showalter doesn’t agree with Butterfield’s position on the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I love him to death,” Showalter said of Butterfield. “If he called me tomorrow and said, ‘I’ve changed my mind and I’ll come,’ I’d figure out every which way I could to get him.”

It’s worth noting that Rosenthal reports MLB’s position on the coronavirus vaccine isn’t set in stone.

Major League Baseball has mandated vaccines for all minor league players and staffers in 2022, but according to a source has yet to decide on a policy for major-league coaches and staff. MLB cannot mandate vaccines for major-league players without the consent of the players’ union, which encourages but does not require the shots.

Butterfield, who was fired as the Los Angeles Angels’ third base coach after the 2021 season, remains unemployed for the 2022 campaign.

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Mike Rosenstein may be reached at mrosenstein@njadvancemedia.com.

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