Matt Harvey

New York columnist clutches his pearls over Matt Harvey giving the finger in a picture

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Yesterday Matt Harvey tweeted a picture of himself, in a hospital bed, giving the finger to the camera just before being wheeled in for Tommy John surgery last year.  After he tweeted it he took it down because someone from the Mets told him to take it down. That’s not too big a deal, of course. I censor myself online sometimes because I have an employer and I represent them as well as myself. So does Harvey. When you do that you honor their reasonable wishes when they are expressed. No harm, no foul. It’s simple drama avoidance, and I’d be shocked if anyone at the Mets gave it a second thought after Harvey took it down.

Of course the picture itself is no big deal. Indeed, the “we wish you wouldn’t do that” from his employer notwithstanding, it was kinda funny. His mom took it, apparently. It’s like any number of family pictures floating around my and my parents’ house. I’m guessing a lot of you have pictures like that too. If you can’t joke around with your parents and/or your adult children like that, God, who wants to know you?

Apparently Anthony Rieber of Newsday does. Indeed, he is shocked and appalled about a grown man joking around with his mom like that. It’s not what Derek Jeter or David Wright would do. Seriously, he actually said that:

Remember that time Derek Jeter posted something offensive on Twitter and then decided to take down his account after the Yankees asked him to delete the post?

No? How about that time David Wright did it?

Still no? . . .The problem is that it seems to keep being Harvey who is involved in these little dustups. Not Jeter, whom Harvey said he wants to emulate. Not Wright, who is as positive a role model as New York sports has ever had.

And after that Rieber goes into serious fainting couch/pearl-clutching territory, suggesting that the picture was R-rated and actually using a shocked exclamation point when he noted that Harvey’s mother took the picture. Like this (!).  When he quotes Harvey, who said that there was nothing wrong with the picture, Rieber says “Sorry, but there was.” With what I presume to be a straight face. He then uses a tattling tone to note that the middle finger pic was still up at Harvey’s Instagram account.

Newsday’s little bio of Rieber says he’s been working there since 1998. How one can cover news in New York City for 16 years and still find a way to be shocked at a grown man giving the middle finger is either a testament to how seldom Rieber leaves his house or how utterly disingenuous his shock and disgust at Harvey is here.

Either way, he should be far more embarrassed by that column than Harvey should be about anything he’s done since making the big leagues.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.