ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Harvey found out he’s been sent to the New York Mets’ bullpen and was furious.
But he admits his pitching hasn’t been good, and says he’s determined to earn his way back into the rotation.
“On a scale of one to 10 being (upset), a 10,” Harvey said before the Mets played Atlanta on Saturday night. “But my performance hasn’t been there and I have to do whatever I have to do to get back into the starting rotation and right now that’s go to the bullpen and work on some things . . . figure it out.”
A starter his whole career, the 29-year-old Harvey lost his spot after repeated problems on the mound.
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“He threw a bullpen today, and he’ll be available Tuesday,” first-year Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “I don’t think he is obviously very happy about it. I wouldn’t say he’s discouraged. I think he’s motivated to go out there and show everybody that he can be a starter again at some point.
“He can help us . . . it’s inevitable that he’s going to make more starts for us this year. That’s how baseball goes. Everybody uses tons of starters; 11 was the average last year for every team,” he said.
Since a solid first start, Harvey has struggled, most recently when he allowed six earned runs in the first three innings Thursday night in Atlanta as the Braves beat New York 12-4. That dropped Harvey to 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA. In 26 innings over four starts, he’s allowed 26 hits, four home runs and four walks.
Harvey lobbied to remain in the rotation after the last of his three innings were scoreless.
“Right now, helping the team, the best thing I can do is go to the bullpen and get myself ready . . . and get back to where I can best help this team as a starter,” he said. “I have to suck it up and go out there and do everything I can to get things back in gear.
“I don’t have to agree with it, but I have to go out there and do the best I can to get things going,” he said.
With the return of injured left-handed starter Jason Vargas imminent, the Mets have been considering going to a six-man rotation or moving a current starter to the bullpen.
Instead, lefty Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77) will remain in the rotation with Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. Vargas, recovering from a broken bone on his non-pitching hand, will make a rehabilitation start Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas and then join the rotation.
Harvey has allowed a combined 14 runs in his last three starts. He was 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA in 2017.
The right-hander was an All-Star in 2013, but missed the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery. He helped the Mets reach the World Series in 2015, missed half of the 2016 season following surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and he was out more than two months last season with a right shoulder injury.
Harvey has started 104 major league games and come out of the bullpen just once, doing it last season.