Last year Rob Dibble got canned from MASN after he said that Stephen Strasburg should have “sucked it up” and pitched despite having an elbow injury that went on to require Tommy John surgery. After he said it — but before he got fired — he apologized and said that his comments were “inappropriate and disrespectful.” Based on an interview he gave yesterday, however, he didn’t actually believe that:
“And it had nothing to do with the game he got hurt in Philly. He had a sold-out game against the Braves, and the people I worked with at MASN were excellent, we followed his workout regimen — which was fantastic. His warm-up was fantastic. He didn’t do any of that the day that he basically walked away from that Braves start, which was sold-out. And all the money that the Nationals were making per start on Strasburg was well over seven figures. So to me, you know what kid, you’ve got to suck it up.”
Bonus: he says he didn’t get fired because he’s still getting paid by MASN (note to Dibble: just because your contract got bought out doesn’t mean you weren’t fired) and he says that the real reason he got, um, not-fired was because Stephen Strasburg’s dad sent an email to the Lerners after Dibble’s comments.
One wonders if Dibble should just be quiet about all of this. Because if he persists, someone with the Nationals is going to feel obligated to go on record with the truth: that the Strasburg stuff was merely the final straw and that Dibble’s comical incompetence as a color man would have gotten him not-fired eventually.
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.