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Randolph, coaches could be on the way out in Queens


Willie Randolph's status as Mets manager is extremely tenuous now. General manager Omar Minaya is seriously considering changing managers and at least a couple of the team's coaches, sources told

A Mets official indicated that nothing was expected to be decided today regarding Randolph's status. But that doesn't preclude something from happening later this weekend. Sources indicate his hold on the job is shaky, at best.

Should Randolph be fired, bench coach Jerry Manuel will take over, sources told

Minaya and other club higher-ups met Thursday to discuss the deteriorating fortunes of the team and what can be done about it. Minaya is considered extremely loyal by co-workers and has been Randolph's strongest supporter for weeks. As one Mets person put it, "Willie's his guy.'' However, Randolph's detractors have become more vocal in recent days, and there seems to be a general feeling that something major needs to be done to reinvigorate the club, which trails the first-place Phillies by 7 1/2 games and has lost lost six of seven after a brief surge.

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Mets people believe they can't start completely anew and would prefer to at least employ someone who's witnessed the first portion of the schedule up close. Manuel, a former Manager of the Year with the White Sox, would be given the rest of the season to turn things around.

Minaya is also weighing other changes, which could include removing hitting coach Howard Johnson and pitching coach Rick Peterson, sources indicate. Some organization people believe sweeping changes must be tried.

Triple-A New Orleans pitching coach Dan Warthen would be a candidate to take over for Peterson.

Randolph's contract runs through 2009 and calls for him to be paid $2 million this year and $2.25 million next year. reported yesterday that Randolph's status was "day-to-day."