Phil Regan was named the New York Mets‘ interim pitching coach in 2019 at the age of 82. But he is now claiming he was not retained for the following season due to his age, according to TMZ.
Regan spent over a decade playing for four MLB teams before he moved into coaching. The Mets opted to have Regan take over as the pitching coach after the team decided to part ways with Dave Eiland in June 2019.
In a lawsuit Regan has filed against the team, he claims former Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen informed him that he would not return because he was “too old.”
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Attorney Matthew Blit revealed some details on Regan’s decision to pursue legal action.
“Phil is the first to crack jokes about his age,” Blit said in a statement to TMZ, “however there is nothing funny about a person being told that they are being passed over because their employer wants someone younger. That’s discrimination, plain and simple.”
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Three months after Regan began guiding the Mets’ pitching staff, the starting pitcher had a 3.06 ERA in September 2019.
Regan did not express any certainty at the time about his coaching future, saying, “At my age, whatever happens, happens.” He added, “I’m sure [the Mets] will decide what they are going to do and whatever happens, happens.”
Despite finishing the 2019 season with a winning record of 86-76, the Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway.
The 86 wins represented a nine-game improvement from the team’s 2018 campaign, but the Mets failed to clinch a wild card spot in 2019. New York finished in third place in the National League East and their division rival, the Washington Nationals, went on to win the World Series that season.
The Mets hired Jeremy Hefner in November 2019 as their next pitching coach. Hefner had a stint with the Mets as a pitcher and began his coaching career when he was hired by the Minnesota Twins.
Regan is reportedly seeking unspecified damages. The Mets had not commented on the suit.
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Regan was named to an All-Star team and also worked in the Mets minor league system as a pitching coordinator. He turns 86 in April.