CHICAGO -- There was no guarantee that Matt Harvey (Harv) would pitch for the Reds on Friday until an hour before the game began. He rewarded their decision not to trade him with 5 1/3 solid innings of one-run ball in their eventual 3-2 extra-innings loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Brewers had claimed Harvey off waivers on Wednesday, and the two teams had until 1:30 p.m. ET Friday to finalize a deal. However, the Reds felt it was in their best interest to keep Harvey -- who will be a free agent this offseason -- for the remainder of the 2018 season.
:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
• Shop Players' Weekend Reds gear
"I've said it all along, I've really enjoyed being here and playing with these guys," said Harvey, who is 6-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 18 starts with Cincinnati. "For them to give me that opportunity in May and stick with me, it really means a lot.
"It's been fun, and I'm glad I'm staying here for the rest of the year."
As was perhaps expected, Harvey said, the circumstances leading up to Friday's start made it somewhat more challenging to focus on it. He said he turned to his agent, Scott Boras, to understand how the waiver-trade process works, and he relied on Boras to worry about all the logistics so all he had to think about was pitching.
To further ensure Harvey's attention was on his approaching start, nobody in the Reds' clubhouse said anything about the pending Deadline for the potential trade. Even after it became official that Harvey wasn't leaving, nobody from the Reds told him directly that he was staying.
"It was definitely different to feel like I was getting ready for a start and may not end up making it," Harvey said. "Scott helped me through the whole process. He just kept pushing me to get ready and stay mentally focused. I was able to go out and be successful."
It wasn't the best Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said he has seen Harvey pitch, but given all that was going on, the 29-year-old right-hander more than did his part to keep the Reds in the game.
Harvey faced the minimum through five innings, with the only two baserunners coming on a hit from pitcher Alec Mills (Millsy) and a walk to Javier Baez (El Mago). He also racked up six strikeouts, four of which came in the first two frames.
Harvey was considered one of the more likely players to be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. That ended up not happening, but there were reportedly a number of teams still interested in acquiring him off waivers before the end of August.
The Brewers specifically had been linked to Harvey prior to the July 31 Deadline, as they are one of the contenders most in need of an established starting pitcher with postseason experience. Harvey went 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four postseason starts for the Mets in 2015.
Still, when it came time to finalize a trade, the Reds felt Harvey was more valuable than anything other teams were willing to give up in return.
"We felt that it made more sense to keep [Harvey] and gain positive momentum for our club through the end of this season and into next season," Reds general manager Nick Krall said via conference call. "He's been a quality influence on a lot of the guys on our club.
"He's a guy we felt really good about keeping on this year around the young kids through the end of the season."
Harvey has had an interesting year altogether, beginning with his early-season fallout with the Mets (0-2, 7.00 ERA) that led to the Reds dealing for him. This time, though, Harvey became a trade candidate not because the Mets were trying to get rid of him but because other teams wanted him.
"It's a lot better than being put to the shelf by another team, which obviously happened earlier this year," Harvey said. "To be on the other end of that and have some success and be wanted, it's kind of where you want to end up."
First baseman Joey Votto is progressing toward returning to the Reds' lineup, though it is uncertain whether he will be ready to be activated when he is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Sunday.
"That's going to be his and the trainer's call," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said of Votto. "Pretty significant injury he got there from the hit-by-pitch. It hit a nerve there that really has stifled him."
Votto sustained a lower right leg contusion after he was hit by Nationals reliever Ryan Madson's 96.2-mph fastball on Aug. 4. He tried playing through the injury but ultimately landed on the DL on Aug. 17, retroactive to the day before.
"This thing has really hung on there," Riggleman said. "He's still not right. If we were going to try to activate him today -- if he was due today -- I wouldn't be comfortable doing it.
"But I'm getting more and more encouraged from him and the trainers."