Steve Phillips to speak on Monday

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Thumbnail image for steve phillips.jpgIf you’re like me, the airwaves just haven’t been the same since Steve Phillips got fired.  But never fear! My corporate parent has seen to it that you’ll get your fix on Monday:

Steve Phillips, fired late last October from ESPN over an embarrassing extramarital affair with a young staffer at the network, will go public with his story for the first time Monday during a “Today” show interview with Matt Lauer.

Sources said the Phillips interview is expected to air during the early portion of the show.

I’m going to go out and a limb here and guess that the grovelling-to-informing ratio is going to be on the high side. Because really, there isn’t much for Phillips to tell here. He got busted for an inappropriate workplace relationship. Again. While the behavior of the young lady in question was rather nuts, it’s a pretty simple story from Phillips’ perspective.

So the grovelling will be really important here. Why? Employment.  No, not with ESPN or in baseball or anything like that. Because really, his behavior has made him more or less unemployable either as a media personality or as someone in a position of authority in a Major League Baseball office. And that’s just because of the affair-with-an-underling stuff.  If you bring his awfulness as a media personality and fecklessness as a GM into the equation, the dude is positively radioactive.

However, if he can muster some real tears for Lauer on Monday he may yet be able to parlay a book deal or a series of paid speaking engagements out of this.  And if that happens, we all win, don’t we?

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.

It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.

At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”

Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.