Axe Falls on Mets' Manager Willie Randolph, Staff

Willie Randolph is fired early Tuesday morning after the Mets' 9-6 win over the Angels. (CLICK PHOTO FOR WILLIE RANDOLPH TIMELINE GALLERY)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Willie Randolph is out as manager of the New York Mets. And so is his coaching staff.

The move comes 2½ months into a disappointing 34-35 season that has followed the team's colossal collapse last September. The Mets were a pre-season favorite to win the NL East.

Hours after a 9-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels, their 2nd straight victory, the Mets named Jerry Manuel, their bench coach since 2005, as interim manager.

The Mets also fired pitching coach Rick Peterson and hitting coach Tom Nieto, replacing them with Ken Oberkfell, their top minor league manager for the last four seasons at Class AAA-New Orleans (Int'l) and Oberkfell's pitching coach Dan Warthen.

The Mets also added Luis Aguayo, their field coordinator who oversees minor leaguers at Port St. Lucie, Florida, to the coaching staff.

Manuel was manager of the Chicago White Sox from 1998-2003, leading them to a 95-67 season in 2000, earning him the honor of AP's American League Manager of the Year award.

Warthen has been a coach in the Mets' minor league system since 2003 and was a major league bullpen coach for the Dodgers before that.

Randolph's tenure as the Mets' 18th manager ends with a 302-253 record, the 2nd-highest winning percentage in franchise history, trailing only Davey Johnson.

Randolph led the Mets to within one win of the 2006 World Series. They got off to a strong start again last year but plummeted down the stretch, squandering a 7-game division lead with 17 games left to play.

He's the first major league manager to get fired this season.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)