The Mets weren’t entirely sure Matt Harvey was ready, but the 2010 first-round pick sure looked the part in his debut Thursday against the Diamondbacks.
While pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings, Harvey became just the 13th pitcher in major league history to strike out at least 11 batters in his debut. He allowed three hits and walked three on his way to getting the victory in the Mets’ 3-1 win.
The major league record of strikeouts in a debut is 15, established by the Dodgers’ Karl Spooner in 1954 and matched by the Astros’ J.R. Richard in 1971. Stephen Strasburg fanned 14 in his first start two years ago. Besides Strasburg, the most recent pitcher to strike out at least 11 batters in his debut was Oakland’s Tim Hudson in 1999.
Harvey definitely seemed amped up tonight, throwing 95-98 mph instead of his usual 93-96 mph. He wasn’t flawless when it came to command, but Diamondbacks hitters were swinging right through his fastball and slider. It looks like he’ll be a force to be reckoned with, perhaps in the batter’s box as well. He doubled and singled in his only two at-bats tonight.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.