We’ve learned a new wrinkle in the ongoing drama between the New York Mets and star pitcher Matt Harvey and it seems to suggest their relationship might be even rockier than we know. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Mets sent two members of their security team to Harvey’s Manhattan apartment Saturday night to check on him after he missed that day’s game.
On Sunday, the Mets announced that they’d suspended Harvey for three games. Harvey, however, apparently didn’t know he had been suspended and showed up Sunday. He was then sent home and missed his scheduled start.
The Mets aren’t talking publicly about the reasons for his suspension, but reports on Sunday said Harvey had a migraine Saturday after playing golf and eating lunch. He texted the team to say he was ill and wouldn’t be coming to the ballpark. He reportedly did so after the team’s deadline and that’s why he was punished. That he was suspended three games and not fined would indicate this isn’t the first time Harvey has had such a problem.
And the newest wrinkle, via Heyman, seems to suggest the Mets were suspicious of something.
Harvey is said to have answered his own door in his pajamas, and word from people who’ve spoken to him is that the Mets emissaries weren’t doctors or caretakers but rather people who quizzed him about what was going on with him. The implication he apparently got: the team was checking to see if he was really at home, and really ill.
Mets people aren’t talking about the situation – which still seems likely to wind up in a grievance, as FanRag first reported, though there’s been no final decision on this matter by the players union – but word from people who have spoken to team personnel is that they tried to reach him several times after he and pitching coach Dan Warthen exchanged texts sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. to try to express concern and see if they could help him. And, since he didn’t answer, word from people close to the team is that they sent a couple people over there to make sure he wasn’t in distress.
However, sources suggest Harvey didn’t necessarily see the surprise visit as a hand held out to help, as the men who came apparently didn’t offer chicken soup or Excedrins but merely inquired what was happening.
This sounds a bit like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” with Mets security playing the role of Principal Ed Rooney. Let’s just hope that Harvey hasn’t called in sick to work nine times. He did miss a mandatory offday postseason workout during the Mets’ 2015 World Series run. At the time, he said that would never happen again. If Harvey has been punished before for being late or missing games, it’s never been made public.
We know this, though: The Mets and Harvey have never had the most stable relationship, with most of the problems coming after he needed Tommy John surgery. For example: They disagreed on how he’d rehab his injury — Harvey wanted to be in the New York; the Mets wanted him at the team facility in Florida. There was also a dispute between the Mets and Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, about what his workload would be the season after his surgery.
So there’s obviously a history of miscommunication in the Mets-Harvey relationship. But the bigger question is: Do the Mets have a reason to distrust Harvey?
According to Heyman’s account, some of what led to Harvey’s suspension was him not using the team’s established procedures. Heyman writes that Mets players are supposed to report any illnesses or injuries to the team’s trainer, but Harvey instead sent a text to Warthen, the Mets’ pitching coach. And that the conversation between Harvey and Warthen happened after the 3 p.m. deadline for such notices.
One thing that’s at odds in this drama: Whether Harvey texted the Mets on his own or if he wrote back when the club texted him. Heyman reports that he’s heard it both ways.
Whichever it is, it’s obvious there’s a good amount of scorekeeping going on, a sign that problems are probably lingering. Here’s another sign: Mets manager Terry Collins was asked Tuesday whether Harvey’s teammates respect him and his answer might raise a few eyebrows:
Asked if Matt Harvey's teammates respect him, Terry Collins said, "I can't answer that. I don't know." Didn't want to speak for whole team.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) May 8, 2017
While it makes sense that Collins wouldn’t want to speak for the whole team, that’s normally not how this type of question is answered. And Collins has been around long enough to know that a simple “yes” would have calmed things down somewhat.
The only solid answer we did get Monday in this whole Harvey hullabaloo is when he’ll pitch again. That’s happening Friday at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Something tells us we’re going to hear more about Matt Harvey vs. the Mets before then, though.
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