Harvey on time, Collins a cutup and mollified Mets off to LA
NEW YORK (AP) With a gaggle of watchful reporters waiting outside the Mets dugout and a row of photographers kneeling in position, Matt Harvey hopped up the steps and onto the field at exactly 10 a.m.
Right on time.
One day after missing a mandatory workout and apologizing for his late arrival, Harvey went through practice with his New York teammates Wednesday before the NL East champions traveled to Los Angeles for their playoff opener.
”We’re going to make sure Matt gets to the plane and gets on board, so he’ll be with us tomorrow to work out – I think,” manager Terry Collins joked, finally defusing a dicey issue with his best one-liners.
”It’s over. Done. New day. We took care of it.”
Collins confirmed Harvey was fined and remains scheduled to start Game 3 against the Dodgers in the best-of-five Division Series. Jacob deGrom gets the ball Friday night in Game 1 versus last year’s NL MVP, Clayton Kershaw.
The manager said Harvey spoke to his teammates and was ”extremely apologetic” again Wednesday morning. Publicly, the star pitcher offered no explanation for why he showed up so late Tuesday, saying he simply ”screwed up.”
Collins initially told reporters Harvey called and said he got stuck in traffic. Later, the manager mentioned that when Harvey finally arrived, he said he had lost track of time.
”It’s not big to us. It’s not major news to us. It’s major news to you guys because it’s a story and I certainly get that, but we handle that kind of stuff in-house,” Collins said Wednesday. ”Why he wasn’t here? I don’t care. The only thing I care about is he wasn’t here and so that I have to worry about and that I have to take care of and I have.”
”We had a little bit of a setback, a little bit of a problem, distraction, on an off day. Who really cares?” the manager added.
Asked if Harvey was fined a substantial amount, a smiling Collins said: ”He can afford it.”
Could there be any additional discipline?
”I can’t say there wouldn’t be something else, but there’s no more on my side. Is he going to have to wait on a couple guys on the plane? Maybe. The players deal with that stuff, not me,” Collins said.
Anyone late Wednesday?
”Bartolo (Colon) got stuck in traffic but made it. He’s got a 4-wheel drive,” Collins answered with a grin.
All jokes aside, Harvey’s conspicuous absence was just the latest dramatic episode during his 3 1/2 seasons in New York – even though he sat out one of them while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
The right-hander has cultivated an alpha-male image (with a willing boost from the Mets’ staff) and gets his initial opportunity on the October stage Monday in the first playoff game at 7-season-old Citi Field.
”There’s so much panic around here. So tense,” Collins said. ”When the games start there will be pressure, but this is going to be fun. You look back at what you had to do to get here, this should be an enjoyable time. Yeah, there are expectations. We’re aware of that. But we accomplished a lot of things this summer and we should have some fun. And we get on that plane today and we’re back in a smaller group and get ready to go, and when Friday comes the intensity and the competitiveness will come out.”
After captain David Wright sounded irritated by Harvey’s absence Tuesday, veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson downplayed the situation Wednesday.
”We all have been late at some point in time,” Granderson said. ”We understand it’s a mistake.”
”He still got his work done. … He was still able to accomplish everything he wanted to, just an hour later. That’s all it was. So you know, I don’t think anybody on the team has looked at it as any more than that,” he added.