Mets’ Matt Harvey gets into heated exchange with reporters day after bullpen appearance
Matt Harvey’s unfriendly ways with the media haven’t changed even as the scuffling veteran has been converted from a starter to a reliever.
After declining to speak Tuesday following his relief debut, Harvey was testy with reporters Wednesday when approached for comment.
“I have nothing to say to you guys,” Harvey said.
He added: “I don’t (expletive) want to.”
Harvey’s relationship with the media has been contentious for years now while he’s endured the roughest years of his career. Harvey was once the toast of the town and celebrated for being one of the premier pitchers in MLB, but he’s been criticized in recent years as his production has slipped while he’s battled injuries.
The righty rarely gives interviews on days he doesn’t pitch, and has declined to speak after pitching multiples times.
Harvey’s choice to skip media sessions stands out since almost all other players are accommodating, and it can force other players to answer in his place.
Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has also declined interviews during his time in New York although he has never cursed toward reporters like Harvey.
The Mets’ bullpen — which Harvey is now a part of — blew two multi-run leads last week, yet Jeurys Familia and AJ Ramos were both available to speak after each game.
With Harvey not speaking Tuesday night, the burden fell on young catcher Tomas Nido, who had never caught Harvey in the majors before. While Nido praised Harvey, he had no preference reference point, and could not add much to the topic.
Harvey most notably declined to speak to the media after being rocked by the Nationals in 2016. When Harvey bailed, it left the postgame obligations to catcher Kevin Plawecki, who had to answer questions on Harvey’s struggles while he was in his own slump.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway, in his first year in the role, avoided answering any questions about Harvey’s decision to forego speaking to the media.
Callaway has stressed accountability in his attempt to build a winning culture, but there are no specific guidelines requiring players to talk.
Mets Captain David Wright called out Harvey in the past for not speaking to reporters.
“We really can’t do anything about that. That’s their right as a player and I think the rules are such it’s kind of like when we have days off we can’t make them come in and workout. It’s in the rules,” Callaway said. “Rules are rules and the players have a very strong union that protects them from certain things so I can’t really comment on that because it’s a rule. It’s not my rule but something I have to live with as well.”
Odds are Harvey’s sour relationship with the media will continue throughout his final year in New York, and the expectation is this will be his last season with the Mets.
His vulgar comments, though, seemingly won’t help him in the public eye at a time when he’s trying to prove that he can still be a meaningful contributor. One team source recently said that Harvey’s move to the bullpen can win over his teammates and fans.
Fans once loved Harvey and the “Harvey” Day phenomena, but that has changed. After undergoing Tommy John surgery and surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Harvey is just another guy in the majors. He’s still famous because of his name, not the results.
Harvey’s bullpen debut in the Mets’ 6-5 win in 10 innings went well enough with the righty allowing one run in two innings. He had some extra life on his fastball.
The Mets are hoping this bullpen stint will help get Harvey back on track, and Callaway was pleased with Harvey’s initial tryout.
It’s anyone’s guess, though, how Harvey actually feels about how it went.
“He threw the ball well. Stuff was crisp, kept the ball down,” Callaway said Tuesday. “Looked to me like he was challenging hitters and attacking.”
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