By CHARLES O’BRIEN, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — No matter why Matt Harvey was suspended, it’s certainly been a messy season for the New York Mets.
The star pitcher was banned for three days without pay by the team on Sunday for an undisclosed violation of team rules, the latest fiasco for a club beset by problems on and off the field this year.
General manager Sandy Alderson announced the suspension in a brief statement before the game, shortly before Harvey was scheduled to start against Miami. Alderson said the right-hander had been sent home, but declined further comment.
Multiple media reports indicated the penalty stemmed from the pitcher failing to show up at the ballpark Saturday.
Mets manager Terry Collins declined to comment on those reports, but infielder Jose Reyes noted that players “are employees and have to come to your job every day.”
Harvey can appeal the suspension.
It’s not the first time Harvey has been punished by the Mets for his behavior. He missed a mandatory team workout before the 2015 playoffs and was fined.
After showing up at the ballpark that day, Harvey apologized for his late arrival. He offered no public explanation for his tardiness, saying he simply “screwed up.”
“We’ve all been a part of situations where guys break team rules,” Mets second baseman Neil Walker said Sunday. “In every occasion I’ve been a part of, a guy has come back and he’s learned his lesson and we’ve moved on. Hope Matt will be accepted back in here with open arms and we hope he’s the best version of himself when he comes back and we believe he will be.”
Coming off two straight playoff appearances, the Mets began this season with lofty expectations. Hampered by injuries, however, they’ve opened 14-16 against all NL East opponents.
The Mets said Harvey’s suspension took effect Saturday. Collins held a closed-door meeting with his team before Sunday’s game to talk about the penalty.
“We are going to keep it in house, the way it’s supposed to be,” Collins said. “We hope to put it behind us and move forward.”
The suspension removed Harvey from the 25-man roster. The Mets transferred injured ace Noah Syndergaard to the 60-day disabled list to open a spot on the 40-man roster for left-hander Adam Wilk, called up from the minors to start Sunday against the Marlins.
New York also claimed lefty Tommy Milone off waivers from Milwaukee — he was 1-0 with one save and a 6.43 ERA.
In his first season after having a rib removed during surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, the 28-year-old Harvey is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA in six starts covering 35 innings. He is coming off two of the worst starts of his career, allowing 12 runs over 9 2/3 innings with eight walks in a pair of losses to Atlanta.
“I just hope that (Harvey) is fine and that he comes back ready to pitch and ready to help us win games,” outfielder Jay Bruce said. “We will welcome Matt back when he gets back and continue moving forward.”
Harvey started the 2013 All-Star Game on his home mound at Citi Field, then missed the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He came back the following year and went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA, helping the Mets reach the World Series in his first postseason.
This year, New York already has dealt with several public relations problems. Syndergaard initially missed a start with what the Mets said was biceps and shoulder discomfort and then made his next start against Washington after refusing to undergo an MRI. He was removed with the lat injury after 1 1/3 ineffective innings in a 23-5 loss.
Syndergaard issued an apology Saturday to Mets public relations director Jay Horwitz and members of the media for an outburst on April 27.
In another embarrassing development, the team tweeted a photo Friday night of T.J. Rivera wearing the star-of-the-game crown in the clubhouse after a victory over Miami — and the background included a clearly visible sex toy in backup catcher Kevin Plawecki’s locker.
Plawecki described it as a prank by someone else. He said the toy was not his, it was gone by Saturday and he was not making an effort to find out who left it in his locker.
On the field, the Mets are missing Syndergaard (latissimus dorsi), outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring), first baseman Lucas Duda (elbow), catcher Travis d’Arnaud (wrist), left-hander Steven Matz (elbow), right-hander Seth Lugo (elbow) and third baseman David Wright (recovery from neck surgery).
Steady shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left Saturday’s game with an injured left thumb, but the Mets got some good news Sunday when an MRI showed no ligament tear. Cabrera will not need surgery and the team hadn’t yet decided whether to put him on the disabled list, Collins said.
Wilk was brought up from Triple-A Las Vegas on short notice and little sleep. He made several stops en route to New York and took an overnight flight, arriving at Citi Field straight from the airport around 8:45 a.m.
In his first big league game since 2015, the lefty was hit hard, giving up six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. The Mets managed only one hit in a 7-0 loss and were shut out for the first time this season.
“Pretty tough situation to put him in, but it’s what we had to do,” Collins said. “There were rules here that weren’t adhered to and we took a stance.”
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