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Riggleman: Harvey to get clean slate with Reds

Right-hander likely to debut in upcoming Los Angeles series; Cruz talks quick promotion
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have yet to determine exactly how Matt Harvey will fit in their pitching staff, but he will likely see action vs. the Dodgers during the next series.

Cincinnati sent catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash to the Mets for Harvey about an hour before the two teams played each other on Tuesday night. Already in Los Angeles working out, Harvey will meet the team at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Interim manager Jim Riggleman already spoke with him on the phone following Tuesday's game and found him to be excited about the trade.

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CINCINNATI -- The Reds have yet to determine exactly how Matt Harvey will fit in their pitching staff, but he will likely see action vs. the Dodgers during the next series.

Cincinnati sent catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash to the Mets for Harvey about an hour before the two teams played each other on Tuesday night. Already in Los Angeles working out, Harvey will meet the team at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Interim manager Jim Riggleman already spoke with him on the phone following Tuesday's game and found him to be excited about the trade.

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"He's anxious to help us and re-establish his career. I think it's a good fit," Riggleman said on Wednesday morning.

Harvey, 29, has been throwing and worked in a bullpen session on Tuesday. His last outing was a two-inning, five-run relief appearance for the Mets on Thursday vs. the Braves, and he was designated for assignment the following day after refusing to go to the Minors. Harvey's last start for New York was on April 19 (six runs over six innings) before his demotion to the bullpen.

Video: MLB Tonight: Mets send Harvey to Reds for Mesoraco

"He's tried to extend himself a little bit, so no matter where he signed, he'd be able to pitch some length," Riggleman said. "He's ready to do whatever we need him to do. We'll determine that in the next day or two.

"I would think he would, in some capacity, pitch against the Dodgers. Whether that's relieving or starting or whatever, I don't know yet."

If Harvey were to start, taking the rotation spot of Brandon Finnegan would seem possible. Finnegan is 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five starts, and after his 3 1/3-inning start vs. Miami on Sunday, Riggleman didn't commit to the lefty beyond his next scheduled start on Friday. Homer Bailey is also winless at 0-5 with a 5.61 ERA in eight starts, but his veteran status and $21 million salary for this season makes it unlikely he would be moved out of the rotation.

Riggleman believed that Harvey, an All-Star pitcher in 2013 who has struggled to find success the past couple of seasons, could still be a starter in the Major Leagues.

Video: MLB Tonight discusses Harvey being traded to Reds

"Yes, for sure. Whether he's a starter immediately, that's where we want to get him to," Riggleman said.

Harvey was 25-18 with a 2.53 ERA in his first 65 starts for the Mets from 2012-15. But he's gone 9-19 with a 5.93 ERA in 44 games -- including 39 starts -- since '16. Harvey also dealt with numerous injuries, including Tommy John surgery that wiped out the entire 2014 season and thoracic outlet syndrome in '16, which required surgery to remove a rib. He is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in eight games (four starts) in '18.

Harvey has also been a New York tabloid fixture for his celebrity lifestyle, though sometimes also for the wrong reasons. While out with a shoulder injury, he was given a three-game suspension last season for failing to report to Citi Field for a game. Over the first five weeks of this season, Harvey swore at reporters seeking comment on his bullpen struggles, and he spent a night, according to a New York Post report, partying in Los Angeles before the Mets were due to play in San Diego.

Video: NYM@CIN: Reds GM Williams on trading for Harvey

Following Harvey's refusal to go to the Minors, the Mets cut ties with the right-hander. Despite a turbulent tenure and exit from the Mets, Riggleman believes he should have a clean slate with Cincinnati.

"So much can get blown out of proportion. We've talked to a lot of people who basically say Matt Harvey is a good guy," Riggleman said. "Some stuff got exaggerated and so forth. That's kind of in the past."

Tweet from @Reds: The newest Cincinnati Red...Welcome to #RedsCountry, @MattHarvey33! pic.twitter.com/AbCgEQAFAP

Cruz back in the Majors
When Mesoraco was traded, the Reds were down to one catcher in starter Tucker Barnhart, so they scrambled to call up Tony Cruz from Triple-A Louisville. Cruz was notified at 5:15 p.m. ET of his promotion and arrived at Great American Ball Park around 8 p.m.

"I haven't been up here for a while. It's exciting for me, for sure," Cruz said on Wednesday.

Cruz, 31, was in the Major Leagues from 2011-15 as Yadier Molina's backup with the Cardinals. He played four games in the big leagues for the Royals in '16 but has spent the rest of the past two-plus seasons at Triple-A for three organizations.

Video: CIN@SEA: Cruz homers to give Reds lead in 9th

The Reds signed Cruz to a Minor League deal in the offseason, and he spent most of Spring Training in camp as a non-roster player. He was able to familiarize himself with the team's pitching staff.

"It still takes some adjusting, even up here," Cruz said. "I feel like hitters are a little bit more locked in during the season than they are at Spring Training. We'll see how it goes."

Reds name Honorary Bat Girl
Major League Baseball and the Reds announced that Carrie Hayden would be their "Honorary Bat Girl" for the annual Mother's Day tradition of the "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative.

Hayden, who is from Cincinnati, is a two-time cancer survivor who was first diagnosed in 1986 with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and turned her fight into community action by dedicating her life to promoting cancer research to help reduce incidences of the disease and improve the success rate of treatment. Hayden will chair the Cancer Ends Here rally at Great American Ball Park on Sept. 29, and among numerous positions, she has served as an advisor to the Cincinnati Cancer Center and the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute. She is also the chair of the University of Cincinnati Center for Integrative Health and Wellness Advisory Board.

Since the Reds will be on the road Sunday, they will recognize Hayden as their Honorary Bat Girl at their May 18 game vs. the Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

Reds players will use pink bats (which they will later auction), caps, socks and other gear on Sunday in Los Angeles, and their uniforms will feature pink ribbons. The initiative is intended to raise awareness and -- through donations and auction proceeds -- funds to fight breast cancer. MLB will again donate its royalties from Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Matt Harvey