Last week we heard Carlos Beltran talk about the difficulty a lot of Spanish-speaking players have playing in the United States and how the lack of interpreters on teams contributes to this. Union director Tony Clark is interested in what he had to say. From the Daily News:
There are number of challenges for a ballplayer when working and playing in a foreign country,” Clark responded in an email. “Needless to say, learning a new language is one of those challenges. As such, there are a number of programs currently in place to provide International Players support in this area as they develop and move through the minor leagues.
“Having said that, we would be very interested in having a discussion about providing additional support to players particularly considering the demands being placed on them to speak publicly and address the media.”
I think the term “discussion” is apt here, as it’s not at all clear that there is something certain to be done that everyone would agree on at the moment such as mandating interpreters or what have you. But the integration of players into every aspect of their job an existence in the United States is a worthy goal, and making sure they don’t have a problematic or adversarial relationship with the media or their own team due to communication problems is one way to achieve it.
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.