NEW YORK (AP) Embattled general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. apologized Tuesday to Philadelphia Phillies fans for saying they ''don't understand the game'' and the ''process'' that goes into constructing a team.
Speaking before the Phillies played the New York Mets at Citi Field, Amaro acknowledged his comments ''caused a bit of a firestorm'' in Philadelphia.
''I'd like to apologize to the fan because I'm a fan myself and I understand. I understand the passion and the knowledge that our fans have for our game and the other major sports - all the sports in Philly,'' he said. ''So, I don't think the comments were meant to disparage our fans by any stretch of the imagination. I probably used my words incorrectly or poorly. So I want to apologize for that.''
Already criticized by fans eager to see the club rebuild following consecutive 73-89 finishes, Amaro told CSNPhilly.com for a story published Tuesday that he thinks the Phillies will be conservative in promoting top prospects Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin through the minors. Both are pitching well at Double-A Reading.
As for fans who want to see the team be more aggressive?
''They don't understand the game,'' Amaro said, according to CSNPhilly.com. ''They don't understand the process. There's a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don't have a plan. There's a plan in place, and we're sticking with the plan. We can't do what's best for the fan. We have to do what's best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That's the truth.''
Amaro acknowledged he spoke with team president Pat Gillick about those comments.
''Am I worried about it for me now? I'm more worried about it for the organization because the organization shouldn't have to suffer because I made a bad quote,'' Amaro said. ''It's unfortunate, but I think it's been taken out of context in some ways. Take the quote out and pull it out of (the) story and look at the length of the breadth of the story.''Philadelphia began the day fourth in the NL East at 19-28, and Amaro said he's as excited as anyone else about seeing the organization's best prospects in the big leagues.
''But there's a process they have to go through. There's a process and a plan in place, and I think that was more the point,'' he explained. ''I understand why the fans would want - because we're not having a ton of success at the major league level right now, why the fans would want to see these guys - but I think it's incumbent upon the organization to make sure we do it at the right time and do it with the right plan in place.
''As I said, there's a rhyme to the reason,'' Amaro added. ''It may not jive with everybody, the way we're doing it, but I think we're doing it for the best interests of our club and the best interests of the player. There's no reason - why would we hold players back? We want our players to perform (in) the big leagues as soon as possible, too.''