Steve Phillips was reinstated as general manager of the New York Mets Monday, eight days after taking a leave of absence to attend to personal problems and a possible claim of sexual harassment.
Phillips, who admitted Nov. 8th a consensual sexual relationship with a former Florida-based Mets employee who has threatened to file a sexual harassment suit, will return to his job immediately while he continues to undergo counseling.
"We're an organization like most that depends on humans. We're human and humans make mistakes," said Dave Howard, the team's senior vice president of business and legal affairs. "We're not concerned with our image as we are with helping Steve."
Howard said that no lawsuit has been formally filed against Phillips or the team, but he would not discuss any details of the case. Team officials last week said there was "absolutely no basis" to the claim of harassment and would defend Phillips in any lawsuit.
Phillips has been attending to his personal problems for most of the last two weeks and had asked for the leave of absence.
"I needed to make my family situation a priority," said Phillips. "I needed to be home and deal with the problem that I caused. Thankfully, the Mets agreed to that."
The woman in question lost her job when the Mets closed a minor league office in Port. St. Lucie, Florida in Oct. 1997.
Phillips and his wife, Marni, have two children -- 5-year-old Ryan and 3-year-old Brett.
Frank Cashen, who served as Mets general manager from 1980-92, replaced Phillips on an interim basis. He had been working for the team as a vice president and consultant.
Phillips had been at the center of what has been a busy off-season for the Mets. He re-signed All-Star catcher Mike Piazza to a record seven-year, $91 million contract and several days later gave pitcher Al Leiter a four-year, $32 million deal.
The 35-year-old Phillips became the majors' third-youngest general manager when he was appointed to succeed Joe McIlvaine on July 16, 1997. A former infielder in the Mets' minor-league system, he worked his way up through the organization, serving as administrative assistant of scouting, minor-league director and assistant GM.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved