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Mets add special assistants to GM11/09/2004 4:03 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Omar Minaya began expanding his front office staff on Tuesday, naming Tony Bernazard and Sandy Johnson as special assistants to the general manager.
Bernazard has been a special assistant with the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1992, while Johnson has been an assistant general manager in Arizona since 1996. Johnson, who worked with Minaya in Texas, will join the staff on Saturday. Bernazard comes aboard on Dec. 1.
Al Goldis and Bill Livesey were hired as special assistants by then-general manager Jim Duquette last fall, but their roles have diminished as the front office has changed.
"Tony Bernazard brings a wealth of knowledge to our organization," Minaya said. "He has experience as a player, and his time in the Union gives him a unique pulse on what today's players are thinking, and what they are about on and off the field.
"There is no baseball executive I respect more in this game than Sandy Johnson. Whether it's scouting, player development or international play, Sandy has been involved with it all. I was with him in Texas and I can't tell you how excited I am to be with him again here with the Mets. Tony and Sandy will observe our club, scout, and have input on trades and free agent signings," Minaya added. "In short, they will play a key role in helping us implement our plan."
Bernazard, 47, served the union as a player development liaison and was instrumental in ensuring that Spanish-speaking players participated in the Association. He traveled extensively to meet players and was actively involved in all the Association's efforts to expand the game through international play. He is currently in Japan touring with the Major League Baseball All-Stars.
"Tony's vast experience will serve him well in his position with the New York Mets," executive director of Major League Baseball Players Association Don Fehr said. "I know I speak for all players when I wish him well in his new position. We will miss him."
A Puerto Rican native, Bernazard spent 13 seasons in the big leagues playing with Montreal, the White Sox, Cleveland and Detroit.
"I'm looking forward to working with Omar and the New York Mets organization," Bernazard said. "The opportunity to use my expertise on the club level, to help bring a championship back to the New York Mets fans is very exciting to me. I would also like to thank all the players of Major League Baseball for the chance to work with them over the years."
Johnson, 64, meanwhile, worked with Minaya a decade ago as part of the Rangers staff, and is eager to join him again.
"I got my job in Texas on Oct. 31, 1984, and I think I hired Omar two days later," Johnson said. "I've pretty much done everything there is to do in baseball, and I'm here to do whatever Omar wants me to do. I have a tremendous situation in Arizona, and going to the Mets is probably one of the few places for which I would consider leaving the Diamondbacks. Coming to New York has a special family bonus for me because I have three kids and five grandchildren on the East Coast."
Johnson was a full-time scout with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973-74. Sandy joined the Major League Scouting Bureau, serving as the Eastern Supervisor until 1981. He then worked for the San Diego Padres as their director of scouting, staying there through the Padres' National League Championship season of 1984. With San Diego, he helped sign young players like Benito Santiago, Mitch Williams and Sandy Alomar Jr.
He moved to Texas as the assistant general manager of player personnel and scouting, and was instrumental in acquiring Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Rich Aurilia, Kevin Brown and Robb Nen.
In other news, the club announced that pitchers Grant Roberts and Jose Parra cleared waivers and are now free agents, leaving the 40-man roster at 36. Roberts, 27, was 0-0 with a 17.36 ERA in four games with the Mets in 2004. He underwent surgery to repair a frayed labrum in his right shoulder on May 25.
Parra, 32, was 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 13 games with the Mets, all in relief. In 14 innings, he gave up 14 hits, six runs, five earned, with six walks and 14 strikeouts. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 19, retroactive to July 18, with a strained right hip flexor.
In a rehabilitation start with Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League on Aug. 6, Parra suffered a fracture to the fifth finger of his right hand while fielding a comebacker to the mound. He had surgery on Aug. 12 to repair the finger and missed the remainder of the year.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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