…providing Orestes Destrade with yet another opportunity to take a shot at Fidel. From the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

ESPN and reporter Jayson Stark (above) apologized Thursday for his tasteless remark involving the manager of Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team, but Stark said there was no indication he will be disciplined by the network.

In an espn.com piece about Japan’s win against Cuba in the WBC championship game Monday, Stark wrote that Cuban manager Higinio Velez “spent the first inning managing like his raft was on fire, and it didn’t work out too caliente [hot].”

Stark, reached on his cellphone Thursday, said, “I apologize to anyone I may have offended. I really feel badly that I wrote that. I regret it. I will never do it again.”

Stark, who is known for taking a humorous approach in his writing, was referencing the fact that Velez used three pitchers in the first inning.

”The comment was clearly in bad taste,” ESPN said in a statement. “Jayson is aware of it and recognizes his error. It has been removed from the column, and we apologize.”

ESPN analyst and former Marlins first baseman Orestes Destrade, who was born in Cuba and moved to New York at age 6 before coming to Miami a year later, said Thursday that he wasn’t offended by Stark’s comment: ‘He went a little over the top, [but] I wouldn’t feel like, `How dare he?’ He was trying to be cute. He’ll learn a lesson. Velez would be the last one to be on a raft because he’s brain-washed with the Castro regime.”

I don’t mean to shill for MLB’s range of webcast products, but if you’re without access to the Mets’ new SportsNet NY channel, MLB.com’s feed of SNY has already featured the TV debut of Gary Cohen with Keith Hernandez. When SNY goes to commercial, the “is this thing on?” banter between Cohen and Mex is already in mid-season form, so much so that somebody oughta be working on a companion CD for release later in the season.