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BC-BBN--Mets-Mendoza,1st Ld-Writethru

March 5, 2019
Jessica Mendoza has been hired as a baseball operations adviser for the New York Mets while remaining a broadcaster for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” The move is part of a trend of TV commentators also working for teams. The Mets say she will be involved in player evaluation, technological advancement and health and performance. Mendoza was a member of the U.S. Olympic softball team in 2004 and 2008. She says she will try to “balance both tasks.” ESPN promises to be “fully transparent.”

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Jessica Mendoza was hired as a baseball operations adviser for the New York Mets on Tuesday while remaining a broadcaster for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” The move is part of an increasing number of television commentators who also work for teams.

She will be involved in player evaluation, roster construction, technological advancement and health and performance, the team said.

Mendoza, a member of the U.S. Olympic softball team in 2004 and 2008, did not address any potential conflict of interest — working for a team while simultaneously commentating on all clubs. Before Sunday night games, managers routinely give private briefings to the ESPN broadcasters.

Mendoza, in the team statement, thanked ESPN and Disney for their “understanding and confidence as I balance both tasks moving forward.”

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz wrote in an email to The Associated Press there are “numerous examples across networks of these type of arrangements where commentators work closely with teams, and we will be fully transparent about Jessica’s relationship with the Mets.”

He added: “We have complete faith in her ability as a leading MLB voice for ESPN.”

Former pitcher Al Leiter was hired a day earlier as a Mets baseball operations adviser and will continue in his role as a studio analyst for the MLB Network, according to the network. Leiter told the Yankees’ YES network earlier in the offseason he was leaving his role there.

Alex Rodriguez, a member of the Sunday night ESPN booth along with Mendoza and play-by-play commentator Matt Vasgersian, has been a New York Yankees adviser since his retirement. His work for the team appears to be primarily several days of on-field coaching annually with young players.

ESPN also says Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia will contribute to the network this season as a studio analyst and make appearances on several of its shows. Sabathia has said this will be his final season as a player.

David Ortiz and Frank Thomas are Fox studio analysts; Ortiz is a special assistant for the Boston Red Sox and Thomas a special consultant for business operations for the Chicago White Sox.

Retired catcher David Ross has been a Chicago Cubs special assistant to baseball operations and an ESPN analyst and in-game broadcaster since before the 2017 season.

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