Matt Harvey rejoins Mets, apologizes for skipping game
NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Harvey was contrite. Visibly embarrassed. Entirely apologetic.
Nothing like the brash and cocksure kid who burst onto the New York scene a few years back and quickly became one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers.
A subdued Harvey rejoined the Mets on Tuesday and apologized to teammates, coaches, owners and fans after serving his three-day suspension for skipping a game last weekend following a late night on the town. And in a pair of unusually emotive news conferences, he and manager Terry Collins even hinted the one-time ace might have a problem with alcohol.
At the very least, they virtually acknowledged a late-night lifestyle has pulled Harvey’s priorities away from the game and impaired his pitching.
“There are things that I’ve realized in the last couple days that I need to be doing or should not be doing,” Harvey said before New York hosted San Francisco. “One of those that I should be doing is putting myself in a better place to perform physically and be accountable for my work, and that’s something that I’m committing to.”
Collins said he thinks this latest flap can be a wakeup call, and Harvey admitted that.
Before the 2015 playoffs, Harvey was fined for missing a mandatory team workout. This time, he was suspended three days without pay.
“I’m extremely embarrassed by my actions,” said Harvey, wearing a Mets cap and practice shirt as he sat at a table with a microphone in the interview room.
“It’s completely my fault,” he added. “I’m doing everything I can so that never happens again.”
The star pitcher has help inside and outside the clubhouse, Collins said, and he thinks Harvey will now use his strong support group.
“I don’t think he thinks he has to do it by himself anymore,” Collins said.
Asked directly if he thinks Harvey has an alcohol problem, Collins said: “I’m not qualified to answer that.”
And his habits off the field?
“I didn’t get into that stuff with him. I know that there’s people who have, that he’s discussed it with. They’re professionals on that side of it,” Collins said. “I think he needs to just refocus his energies towards being the best in the game again.”
Harvey acknowledged he was out after Friday night’s game “past curfew” and then played golf Saturday morning. He did not show up at Citi Field for Saturday night’s game against Miami and took “full blame” for that.
The right-hander was scheduled to start Sunday afternoon, but when he arrived at the ballpark he was sent home by the team. New York called up journeyman Adam Wilk from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill in on short notice and little-to-no sleep. Wilk was hit hard in a 7-0 loss to the Marlins.
Harvey’s career was interrupted by Tommy John elbow surgery in 2013. He had a rib removed last year during an operation to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, cutting short a dreadful season on the mound.
This year, the 28-year-old Harvey is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA in six starts covering 35 innings. He is coming off two of the worst outings of his career, allowing 12 runs over 9 2/3 innings with eight walks in a pair of losses to Atlanta.
The suspension, effective Saturday through Monday, cost Harvey $84,016 of his $5,125,000 salary.
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