We likely would have seen Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras in the majors by now if he was healthy, but his impact won’t be felt until 2014.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Taveras underwent surgery today to repair ligament damage and remove cartilage from his ailing right ankle. He’s expected to be in a walking boot for the next eight weeks, which makes his participation in winter ball unlikely. However, the hope is that he’ll be ready to go for spring training next year.
Taveras, who was ranked as the No. 3 prospect by Baseball America coming into the season, originally injured the ankle on a hard slide into second base in mid May. He attempted to come back a few times before finally shutting things down last month.
While the injury slowed Taveras’ development this year, his potential is unquestioned. The 21-year-old batted .306/.341/.462 with five home runs, five stolen bases and 32 RBI in 46 games this season in Triple-A and owns a .320/.377/.518 batting line over five seasons in the minors. If his recovery goes smoothly, he could be rooming center field at Busch Stadium next year.
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.