The New York Mets' front office has dictated at least some pitching moves during games this season, multiple organizational sources confirmed to ESPN's Buster Olney.
The New York Post was the first to report the unusual machinations, citing a specific incident on June 1, when Jacob deGrom was removed from a game while dealing with a hip cramp.
Front offices are typically heavily involved in the planning of lineups and possible pitching matchups before each game, but generally, most managers have the autonomy to make moves through the course of each contest, often applying the information provided by analysts and executives.
Some evaluators with other teams reiterated Monday it is very rare for a member of the front office -- an owner or general manager -- to direct managerial decisions during games.
Under Sandy Alderson, who stepped down as general manager of the Mets last year, the manager was left to make in-game decisions. Sources say that has changed under Brodie Van Wagenen, who is in his first year as general manager of the Mets, with directives being forwarded to manager Mickey Callaway through clubhouse staff.
Callaway, in his second year as Mets manager and his first working under Van Wagenen, has accepted and implemented the directives, according to the sources.
Van Wagenen on Monday denied reports he was getting involved in strategic in-game decisions following the Mets' 13-7 loss to Philadelphia, but he said communicating with the training staff during games was "normal protocol."
"We're evaluating the players' health, we're talking about X-rays, we're talking about whether a player -- as you all know -- we try to get information to the press box as quickly as possible about the statuses. That is normal protocol for us," the GM said. "We'll continue to do that and make sure that if the training staff and the health of the player is such that the player can't continue, then that communication happens between the training staff and the coaches."
Callaway downplayed the instructions from Van Wagenen when asked about them after Monday's game, saying his communication with upper management is limited only to injuries.
"I think we're always in communication," Callaway said. "Especially when guys are injured, obviously I've been filled in on what you're talking about. When a guy gets injured on the field or when a guy is actively injured or has something going on, you know everybody is in communication with the training staff to take care of the players the best we can."
The Post reported that Van Wagenen was watching the June 1 game on TV when he relayed an order to remove deGrom in the seventh inning after Callaway and a trainer visited deGrom twice on the mound. Callaway said Monday that deGrom's removal was a mutual decision.
"I think that we got information from all parties and we made the decision to take care of our ace pitcher that's going to be here for a long time," he said. "We all thought it was prudent at that point."
Asked if he has the latitude to manage how he wants, Callaway said, "Yeah, I do, I do. Yeah."
Callaway came under fire Sunday after cursing at a reporter following questions about his decisions on pitching changes. The incident earned him a fine from the team, and he apologized to the reporter, as well as the assembled media on Monday.