The Mets informed right-hander Matt Harvey on Saturday that he was moving to the bullpen, after which the 29-year-old told Tim Healey of Newsday and other reporters, “On a scale of 1 to 10, obviously I’m at a 10 with being [ticked] off.” The former ace went on to acknowledge that he has struggled, though, and both Harvey and manager Mickey Callaway are hopeful he’ll work his way back into the club’s rotation. “It’s inevitable that he’s going to make more starts for us this year. That’s how baseball goes,” Callaway said. “As of right now, we think that indications are that he’s going to go down there and try to be the best Matt Harvey he can be.” Harvey, whose descent from top-of-the-rotation status began in 2016, has pitched to an ugly 6.57 ERA/6.07 FIP in 113 2/3 innings since last season.
- The Phillies optioned left-hander Hoby Milner to Triple-A on Saturday, paving the way for right-hander Tommy Hunter’s activation from the disabled list on Sunday. Hunter, whom the Phillies signed to a two-year, $18MM deal in the offseason, opened the year on the DL because of a hamstring strain. The 31-year-old will join a bullpen that has been effective thus far (3.21 ERA/3.70 FIP in 67 1/3 innings) despite a lack of contributions from him and fellow free-agent pickup Pat Neshek, who’s on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
- Tigers southpaw Daniel Norris has only made one start in three appearances this year. For now, the team will continue deploying Norris as a reliever in the majors, as opposed to having him start in the minors, manager Ron Gardenhire told Jason Beck of MLB.com and other reporters. The former high-end prospect’s lone start so far came Friday, when he only allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings against the Royals. However, Norris’ fastball velocity – which was in the low-90s in previous years – averaged just 88.6 mph, per Beck. The 24-year-old’s above-average spin rate helped make up for it, Beck notes, and Norris expects that to serve him well if his missing velocity returns. “I haven’t thrown this slow since I was a sophomore in high school, so I’m figuring something out and I’m learning how to pitch,” Norris said. “And when it does come back, I’m going to be a lot better for it.”
- As is the case with Norris, Mariners reliever Juan Nicasio has dealt with a decline in velocity early this season. While Nicasio insists he’s not having any health issues, it’s nonetheless alarming that the offseason investment’s fastball velocity is averaging 93.2 mph after clocking in at 95.7 in 2017, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. Nicasio’s velo did increase last season, which is cause for optimism, though it also started out at a higher level (upward of 95 mph), Divish points out. In 2017, his first year as a full-time reliever, Nicasio was terrific with three clubs (the Pirates, Phillies and Cardinals). The Mariners then awarded him their richest contract of the winter in free agency (two years, $17MM), but with five earned runs allowed in 9 2/3 innings, he has gotten off to a slow start.