They’re characterizing Chipper Jones’ knee injury as a “slight” meniscus tear, but is there anything “slight” when you’re 39-years-old and are already pretty brittle to begin with? The plan now: cortisone shot and some rest, but if that doesn’t work surgery is likely, which will put Jones out for a few weeks.
Remember that stuff I wrote this morning about future Hall of Famers as key players on a contending team? Well, Jones is another one. Unlike the guys up in New York, however, Jones has continued to be a key contributor to the Braves this year, hitting .275/.366/.465 and leading the team with 27 RBI. His loss will be felt if he does, indeed, need surgery.
For now the plan will be to either move Martin Prado to third and have Eric Hinske cover left field (my preference) or have Brooks Conrad take over for Jones at third (opposing hitters’ preference). I’m guessing Fredi Gonzalez would go with the former. Though really, if there is an extended Jones-absence, Atlanta will have to pick up a left fielder or a third baseman, methinks.
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.