Mets discuss owner’s comments before facing Cubs

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CHICAGO (AP) - Mets manager Terry Collins delivered a simple message to his team before its first game since owner Fred Wilpon’s frosty comments about three of the club’s biggest stars were published.

Focus on what you can control.

Fred Wilpon loves this team with all his heart and I know that,” Collins said following the brief meeting, “so we’re just going to rally together and win as many games and play as well as we can play.”

Collins and the Mets returned to the field Tuesday night for the first time since The New Yorker posted a profile of Wilpon on its website that contained some sharp criticism of David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran _ the latest in a long line of mishaps for the stumbling franchise.

The manager said the meeting was planned before the profile of Wilpon put the Mets on the back page of New York tabloids for all the wrong reasons again. But the message was going to be about continuing to play the game the right way through a rash of injuries that put Wright and first baseman Ike Davis on the disabled list.

It turns out there was plenty to talk about.

“You don’t want to be in this situation, but it is what it is,” Beltran said. “We’re all professionals here. Like I say, all I’m looking for is to turn the page, go forward and play hard.”

Beltran and Reyes spoke to Wilpon on a speakerphone in Collins‘ office in the visitors’ clubhouse at Wrigley Field, and a spokesman for the team said he was trying to reach Wright, who flew to Los Angeles on Monday to get his injured back examined by a specialist.

Most of The New Yorker article deals with Wilpon’s upbringing in Brooklyn, his real estate business and his relationship with Bernard Madoff. But the owner really let loose during New York’s 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros on April 20, when the Mets dropped to 5-13.

Sounding a lot like the team’s frustrated fan base, Wilpon disparaged the Mets’ play, called the franchise “snakebitten,” and made a couple of stinging comments about three key players.

_ On the oft-injured Reyes, who can become a free agent at the end of the season, and speculation he could be in line for a big new deal: “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said. “He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”

Crawford signed a $142 million, seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox last winter.

“The only thing I can control right now, like I said before, is continue to play,” Reyes said. “You know he’s the boss. He can say whatever he wants to.”

_ On Beltran: “He’s 65 to 70 percent of what he was,” Wilpon said.

“I feel that right now what is important is I’m healthy and I’m back playing,” Beltran said. “I’m enjoying the game. I don’t feel 70 or 65, I feel 100 percent and I’m glad that I’m here helping this team.”

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