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More controversy

Wendell blasts Mets teammate after Game 4

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Posted: Sunday October 17, 1999 01:47 AM

  Rickey Henderson Rickey Henderson bolted from the Mets' clubhouse not long after their 3-2 victory. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- By this time of the season, the New York Mets are used to dealing with turmoil. So what's one more episode?

Moments after New York's dramatic 3-2 win over Atlanta to stave off elimination Saturday night, reliever Turk Wendell lashed out at a teammate.

"We're a scrappy bunch because we don't quit," Wendell said after the Mets won Game 4. "Except for one person. You'll find out who soon enough."

Wendell apparently was directing his comments at Rickey Henderson, who bolted from the clubhouse less than three minutes after the game ended.

Henderson, who was replaced by Melvin Mora in the top of the eighth inning, was already showered, dressed and on his way out of Shea Stadium with a cardboard box of bats in his hand and a clubhouse attendant following him with a duffle bag.

The Mets already have had to deal with a season full of controversies. General manager Steve Phillips fired three coaches in June following an eight-game losing streak, causing friction with manager Bobby Valentine.

Valentine nearly came to blows with outfielder Bobby Bonilla in the middle of one game. Valentine also came back to the Mets dugout in a disguise after being ejected in a game in June, leading to a two-game suspension.

The latest dispute came last week, when Valentine criticized his own players in Sports Illustrated. He told an interviewer: "You're not dealing with real intelligent guys for the most part," and said five of the players were "losers."

The 40-year-old Henderson, who hit .314 with 87 runs scored this season, was a spark plug at the top of the order for most of the season.

But his failure to run out balls consistently and some mysterious ailments have drawn criticism from some teammates.

On Sept. 23 in Atlanta, Henderson jogged from first to third on Edgardo Alfonzo's double. Henderson then ran through a stop sign from third-base coach Cookie Rojas and was easily thrown out at the plate, costing New York at least one run in an important game.

He then pulled himself out of the game with what the team called a tight left hamstring. He didn't miss a game.

Henderson also left Game 2 in the second inning with an upset stomach, prompting some clubhouse grumbling about his desire.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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