NEW YORK -- Approximately two hours before Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Marlins, players milled about the Mets' clubhouse, shaking off the cobwebs of a sleepy Sunday. As they dressed and shuffled off for breakfast and stretching, one locker remained conspicuously vacant. Matt Harvey never appeared.What was supposed to be
NEW YORK -- Approximately two hours before Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Marlins, players milled about the Mets' clubhouse, shaking off the cobwebs of a sleepy Sunday. As they dressed and shuffled off for breakfast and stretching, one locker remained conspicuously vacant. Matt Harvey never appeared.
What was supposed to be a chance for Harvey to move on from his early-season struggles instead morphed into the latest drama involving the Mets right-hander. The team on Sunday suspended Harvey three days without pay for violating club rules, scratching him from his start against the Marlins and recalling left-hander Adam Wilk from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his place. Wilk later allowed six runs (five earned) in the loss to Miami.
The Mets declined to reveal the impetus behind Harvey's suspension, saying only that the club had been bracing for it since at least Saturday. Two sources later confirmed a FOX Sports report that Harvey did not report to Citi Field for Saturday night's game against the Marlins. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson declined to comment beyond a statement announcing Harvey's suspension, while Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, did not return a message seeking comment.
"This was a team thing, and therefore it's going to remain with the team," manager Terry Collins said. "I think they're all behind us. They're all behind the decision. In the long conversations I've had afterward, they said we've got to move forward and we've got to move forward fast."
Harvey, 28, has struggled in his first season back from thoracic surgery, giving up six runs in each of his last two starts to increase his ERA to 5.14. His suspension technically began Saturday, meaning he could pitch as soon as Wednesday against the Giants. Collins said Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler will pitch Monday and Tuesday as scheduled, but the team has made no decisions beyond that.
Sunday, for the Mets, was more about damage control. Shortly after the Mets made Harvey's suspension public, Collins held a closed-door meeting with his players to relay the news.
"We have to understand we're employees," shortstop Jose Reyes said. "We have to come do the job every day. We're counting on him. He's a big piece of the ballclub and where we need to go. It's kind of disappointing because we feel like we stand together as a team. The team puts rules in Spring Training and everybody in here knows what the rules are. When you miss that, that's not acceptable."
This is not the first time that Harvey has violated team rules. The right-hander received a fine after showing up late to a mandatory team meeting before the 2015 National League Division Series. The previous year, Harvey sparred publicly with the Mets over where he would rehab from Tommy John surgery; the two parties eventually struck a compromise.
Collins said the team was at least aware of Harvey's latest situation on Saturday night, using relief pitching more cautiously knowing Wilk might start.
"There are things that go on that you deal with every day that make the job difficult, but you know it comes with the territory," the manager said. "This is one of those. … In order to control things, you've sometimes got to make tough decisions."
According to published reports, Harvey did not learn of his suspension until showing up at the park on Sunday, at which point the Mets told him to return home. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that Harvey intends to file a grievance over his loss of pay.
"We've all been a part of situations where guys break team rules and they serve the consequences," Mets second baseman Neil Walker said. "In every occasion I've been a part of, a guy comes back and has learned his lesson. We'll move on. Matt will be accepted back in here with open arms."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.