Mets' Manuel:'Very poor season'

When the Atlanta Braves announced that manager Bobby Cox will return for his 21st season in 2010 and then retire, New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel jokingly threw his hat in the ring of potential replacements.

“I’m from Georgia,” Manuel said. “I might be headed there next year.”

Manuel broke out into laughter after saying it, but later turned serious when the subject changed to the job he’s done this season.

Injuries have ruined the Mets’ year, but Manuel didn’t make any excuses. He gave a brutally honest assessment of his performance as a manager.

“I’d have to say that the effort was there,” Manuel said. “But I think in evaluating any manager you go wins and losses. My losses were much greater than the wins.

“I will also say that strategically, I felt pretty comfortable with what I was doing and the position I was putting people in. But it didn’t work.

“I think just like any manager we’re evaluated on wins and losses, regardless of what team you have at the major league level and regardless of what happened to your team. You’re still evaluated on that. With that being said, it was a very, very, very poor season.”

Manuel is signed through next season. Mets ownership already has said Manuel will be back for 2010.

Ex-Red Foster to manage winter club

Former Cincinnati Reds star George Foster has been picked to manage the Lake County Black Bears of the new Florida Winter Baseball League.

The 1977 NL MVP will be managing in a four-team circuit for players from the minors and independent leagues. Ken Griffey Sr., his former Reds teammate, is the league’s commissioner.

Foster says he loves teaching baseball and is excited to work with the young players. The season runs from Oct. 30 through Jan. 24.

Short hops

New York Yankees utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. received a cortisone injection in his left wrist, which an MRI showed has some tendinitis. He had left Wednesday’s game at the Los Angeles Angels midway through an at-bat because of sharp pain after feeling a little pop. … Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt got a second opinion on his ailing back, according to Dr. Andrew Dossett recommended core-strengthening exercises and less running to relieve Oswalt’s condition. He won’t likely pitch again this season.