Matt Harvey will make his first start since returning from a three-game suspension Friday when he takes the mound for the New York Mets as they open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Harvey had been scheduled to start last Sunday against Miami but was scratched from that start after failing to show up at the ballpark a day earlier. Reports said Harvey told team officials that he was suffering from a migraine, but the team later learned that Harvey had been out until 4 a.m. the night before. Team officials ultimately decided to suspend the 28-year-old for a violation of team rules.
“We have a policy here. We had to do something. Sandy (Alderson, the team’s general manager) did it,” manager Terry Collins said. “I respect it. I thought it was the right thing to do. I know it’s dramatic, but I think any team in baseball would have probably reacted very similarly. And it wasn’t just Matt Harvey. Anybody in that room that misses a day and nobody knows about it, we’ve got to do the same thing.”
The Mets got some bad news Thursday as closer Jeurys Familia was diagnosed with a blow clot in an artery in his right shoulder. He’ll undergo more testing and could require surgery, leaving his availability unknown.
It’s just the latest in a long string of struggles for the Mets, who in the last week have suspended Harvey’, placed Noah Syndergaard on the 60-day disabled list and dealt with an incident in which a photo of T.J. Rivera was posted to the team’s Twitter account with a clearly-visible sex toy located in a locker behind him.
Collins said those distractions won’t derail his team.
“We have gotten where we have gotten the last two years with all of the things that have happened here because we have a tremendous clubhouse,” Collins said. “If you’re talking about the pranks guys play on each other, that’s part of the gig here, that’s part of professional — that’s part of a clubhouse atmosphere. People outside don’t like it, we really don’t care. It’s about our guys relaxing and having some fun.”
Harvey, who yielded one run and three hits in six innings without getting a decision against the Brewers last season, will be making his second career start against Milwaukee, which will counter with veteran right-hander Matt Garza.
Garza is making his third start of the season after opening the year on the disabled list with a strained groin.
He has looked good since returning to action, though, allowing just four earned runs in 17 2/3 innings of work (2.55 ERA) with 15 strikeouts and only three walks.
“Getting starting pitchers performing and doing well is big,” manager Craig Counsell said. “(Garza) has gotten into the seventh inning his last two starts, and that’s important. He’s done it well. He’s made pitches. As much as anything, just having a guy you’re (relying on) when you’re rolling around every fifth day (is valuable).
“He’s in a good spot right now. He’s pitching very well.”
Garza is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.