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Kevin Long is wearing a Mets hat now

By Mike Vorkunov

It’s been an offseason of change for Kevin Long. He left a job he had for eight years when theYankees fired him in October and then agreed to join the Mets as their hitting coach.

Now, he is with an organization looking to fix its ailing offense and Long has been touted as the man to do it. But for him, however, it is not all about the wonders a hitting coach can do (if any).

“This isn’t about me,” Long told the New York Daily News. “This is about the players. I see a lot of talent here and I’m excited about working with all of the guys.

“But I don’t want it to be Kevin Long found this, this and this, and now Curtis Granderson is going to hit. He’s obviously a player who played at a very high level when he was with me and the Yankees. We’ve done some terrific things with his swing in the past and it elevated his performance. So we’ll just try to get back to that.”

The work Long will be doing will come in the shadow of a bountiful tenure with the Yankees. When it ended, not so abruptly, Long admits it stung.

“At first I masked it,” he told the Daily News. “I said, ‘it’s part of the game, it happens.’ But you know what, yeah, it hurt. I’ve never been fired before. I’ve never been cut from a team. I’ve always been the first one picked.

“I never played in the big leagues but I was never released as a player. Never released as a coach. So yeah, (bleep), it sucks. I finally let that come out a little bit and everything kind of settled in. I don’t have hard feelings now.”

The pain, while gone, would dissipate completely, he says, if the Mets can win.

“It wouldn’t hurt me a bit if we went to the playoffs and won the World Series, OK, let’s just say that,” Long said. “I don’t know if I’d be the happiest guy in New York — the Wilpons probably would have something to say about that. But I would be right up there.”

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