No one is buying Ryne Sandberg’s claim that benching Rollins wasn’t about sending a message

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A couple days after the Ryne Sandberg-Jimmy Rollins foofaraw broke, Ryne Sandberg is still insisting that benching Rollins for a couple of days is not a disciplinary thing or about him sending a message. People in the know aren’t buying that.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com is one. He wrote last night that the timing was too perfect to accept that it was merely about wanting to give Freddy Galvis reps:

Sandberg’s there’s-nothing-to-see-here story became a little tough to believe when it became clear he was bothered by a recent comment that Rollins made in the Philadelphia Daily News.

On Monday, with the losses and the 0-fers piling up, Rollins said something to the effect that he wasn’t concerned about the way things were going because it was just spring training.

“Who cares?” he said.

The comment hit the paper Tuesday morning, the same day that Rollins was abruptly scratched from the lineup.

And then there is this tweet from Jayson Stark this morning:

 

Apparently Rollins and Sandberg spoke yesterday. For everyone’s sake apart from the reporters, you hope they resolved things. Because this sort of drama is no way to start off a 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.