The Athletics made room for J.D. Drew’s little brother by shipping Rickie Weeks’ little brother back to the minors.
Jemile Weeks, who has struggled all year as Oakland’s starting second baseman, was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday to open up a roster spot for the newly acquired Stephen Drew.
Weeks was an impressive rookie for the A’s last year, hitting .303/.340/.421 with 22 steals in 406 at-bats, but he just wasn’t able to recapture that success. The 25-year-old was batting .220/.305/.302 with 15 steals in 437 at-bats this season.
Jemile doesn’t have the same kind of strikeout problems as his brother, but he also doesn’t possess anywhere near the same amount of power. That he had upped his walk rate in a big way this year — he walked 4.8 percent of the time as a rookie and 9.9 percent of the time this season — helped convince the A’s to stick with him as long as they did, but he’s going to have to start collecting more singles and doubles to be of much use. He’ll be back with the team in September, and if he can get hot at Sacramento, the A’s might give him his starting job back.
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.