Teufel Earns Bump To Triple-A In Mets' Busy Winter





NEW YORK—Tim Teufel sat quietly on the sidelines this winter as the Mets conducted interviews to replace Jerry Manuel as the team's big league manager.

The organization considered Triple-A Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell for the job. Short-season Brooklyn skipper Wally Backman made it through two rounds of interviews. And minor league field coordinator Terry Collins not only interviewed—he got the job.

Through it all, Teufel waited. Finally, in late January, the Mets named him manager at Buffalo.

But don't let the wait fool you. The Mets had Teufel's promotion from Double-A Binghamton in mind all along. Collins was a fan of Teufel's last year, and Teufel is a fan of the system Collins has put in place.

"The culture has changed," Teufel said. "I give a lot of credit to Terry for bringing that. The Mets stepped up and looked for a leader, (and) they found one in Terry."

Teufel said minor league managers were given more leeway, in an effort to develop them for potential big league roles.

"Terry wasn't a micro-manage guy, but he laid out a foundation of what he expected and then whatever a manager had to do to meet those expectations, he did. (The manager) knew his marching orders, (but he) was able to make a mistake within the guidelines and learn how to manage."

Teufel, 52, spent six of his 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Mets. He served as a pro scout and roving instructor with the organization before his first managerial gig with Brooklyn in 2003. He spent five of the six years from 2004-09 managing at the Class A level, earning a bump to Double-A last year.

Top prospects like righthander Jenrry Mejia and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis likely will graduate to Triple-A with Teufel.

"You move up with guys you've had before," Teufel said. "It's a big thrill for a manager. Our job is to develop, get guys to the big leagues and to grow with them.

"These kids are hungry to get to the big leagues, have a desire to become champions. That makes my job easier. They know I care and care for their careers."

METAMORPHOSES

• Teufel singled out Mejia, the organization's top prospect, as a special talent. "He's got that arm you wish for, a tool that makes him jump off the page," he said.

• Coming off a forgettable 2010 season, righthander Brad Holt reported to spring training on Jan. 24, the first day that the Mets opened the doors to the minor league camp.