Mets RHP Matt Harvey to make next start amid struggles

ByAdam Rubin ESPN logo
Thursday, May 26, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The New York Mets will stick with right-hander Matt Harvey in the rotation after debating alternatives, including a demotion to the minor leagues.

Manager Terry Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen, assistant general manager John Ricco and Harvey huddled in the visiting manager's office at Nationals Park on Wednesday morning and general manager Sandy Alderson joined via speakerphone from New York as the group deliberated the best course of action.

Harvey dropped to 3-7 and his ERA skyrocketed to 6.08 in 10 starts after he allowed five runs in five innings against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

After weighing alternatives -- including skipping a start, the disabled list and a demotion -- team officials resolved to have Harvey face the Chicago White Sox on Monday at Citi Field on his normal turn.

"We believe the best way to get him back is to have him keep pitching and keep making progress and stay up here in the big leagues," Ricco said.

Said Collins: "This guy is too big a piece to write him off, to flip him in the bullpen to where you've got to pick and choose when you might use him."

Ricco acknowledged that a trip to the minors was at least on the table, although Collins said that the possibility was not specifically broached with Harvey.

"That's been done in the past," Ricco said. "Some big-name guys have gone down, and that has worked. So I don't think there's this huge stigma about that. I think at the end of the day we're looking for whatever is the best path. He's part of that decision-making process right now."

Harvey did not speak to reporters after Tuesday's game and again declined to comment Wednesday through a team spokesman.

Collins said Harvey's struggles were the most perplexing the manager has seen in his lengthy career. Collins insisted that Harvey is healthy, but again suggested he may be suffering from a hangover after logging 216 innings last year, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.

"He was the best in baseball [in 2013]. That's the guy we're trying to get back instead of 'woe is me,'" Collins said. "What he did last year, there's going to be a period he's got to recover. ... That's where I want the fight. That's where the fight has to be. Quit fighting yourself and just understand we're a support team here. We're in this together."

The Mets harped on positive signs from Harvey's start Tuesday, including improved velocity in the early innings. Harvey's fastball routinely registered 96 mph early in the outing before dipping in the middle innings. Harvey has generally fared well in the early innings of games this season, but he has wilted as the game has progressed.

"Even though his command wasn't good, we saw great movement on his fastball," Collins said about Tuesday's start. "We saw the velocity up. We saw the tightness of his slider."

Collins suggested that Harvey was working too much between starts, which might have contributed to his running out of gas and surrendering five runs over the fourth and fifth innings on Tuesday. Harvey threw a simulated game Saturday.

"This guy has thrown 200 pitches in five days," Collins said. "So when he hit a wall in the fifth, I'm not surprised."

Related Video