Carl Crawford cleared to begin throwing program

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We haven’t heard much about Carl Crawford’s status lately, but Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox left fielder will begin a throwing program today as he works toward a comeback from wrist surgery and a partially torn elbow ligament.

Crawford told Abraham that his surgically repaired wrist is “pretty much 100 percent at this point.” However, the elbow injury that popped up in April remains an issue six weeks after Crawford received a platelet-rich plasma injection as part of his treatment.

Abraham reports that Crawford has been hitting and running this whole time, so once his elbow is strong enough to throw regularly he could be cleared to rejoin the Red Sox relatively quickly. Of course, right now there’s no timetable for that happening and he hasn’t even played catch yet.

It’s hard to remember now, but once upon a time Crawford and the Red Sox were hopeful that he could return from the wrist surgery in time to be in the Opening Day lineup. At this point it seems likely that he’ll miss half the season.

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.