Nolan Ryan says he was “dropped into Jon Daniels’ sandbox” in Texas

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has an interview with Nolan Ryan and his son Reid, both of whom are helping run the Astros now. Most of the article is about Nolan’s return to Houston and his role with the Astros. But there was the obligatory question about why his time in Texas came to an end. An end with no small amount of acrimony between Ryan and GM Jon Daniels.

Ryan plays the diplomat to some degree, saying that he was brought in as Rangers president after Daniels’ team was already in place:

I haven’t really commented on that,” Ryan said. “But when I came into that situation, I was dropped in J.D.’s sandbox. He had his organization and his group of people, and all of a sudden — boom! — Nolan Ryan was there. It was a dimension they didn’t anticipate. It probably wasn’t handled properly with my coming in.”

At the risk of seeing something that Ryan didn’t intend to communicate, I will note that I’ve rarely heard the word “sandbox” used in a business context by the person whose area of responsibilities is being described. Usually it’s someone else referring to someone else’s domain mildly derisively with some hint of “they don’t play nice and share” and some implication that said domain is narrowly and arbitrarily drawn. A businesspeak version of “I wasn’t the problem, they and their little games were.”

Maybe that’s not what Ryan is saying. But I also don’t feel like Ryan — based on what some of his media surrogates in Dallas said after he left the Rangers — believes that he was the problem in Texas.

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.