If Matt Harvey gets it together, he could face the Yankees often this year

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Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News
·3 min read
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SARASOTA — Six years ago, this would have been a big draw. The Yankees facing Matt Harvey. Those six years, however, have been hard on the former Mets right-hander who was once tabbed the Dark Knight of Gotham by Sports Illustrated. Harvey has gone through Tommy John surgery, a brutal end to a strong World Series start, thoracic outlet surgery and a very unharmonious split with the Mets.

So, Saturday night, the now 31-year-old Harvey was here with the Orioles on a minor league roster trying to make the Opening Day roster facing the Yankees. He came into the game with a 7.50 ERA in two starts.

His meteoric rise and dramatic fall from the top of the game was not so long ago. Aaron Boone remembers watching it as an analyst with ESPN.

“Yeah, I can remember he debuted in Arizona. I remember a lot of that game, I was actually calling the Mets-Royals World Series, so I was doing that series for ESPN Radio,” Boone said. “He was a pretty big star and in the sport and certainly in New York for a number of years. There’s no denying the talent so we’ll see where he’s at.”

Boone also still saw some potential in Harvey’s comeback when the Yankees faced him in Anaheim in 2019.

“Absolutely, especially as someone that we could potentially be facing a number of times this year,” Boone said of remembering Harvey as a dangerous pitcher. “I remember in 2019 when we did face him in Anaheim. He was actually throwing the ball pretty well, but he was getting hurt by the long ball that year. He was having that one inning or something because the stuff flies, he was doing some things that were pretty good and then having those innings where he was getting bit by the one big inning. I think that even happened against us, I think we might have gotten him.

“But, I’m always curious about somebody that could be in the mix and then when you make it a division foe that if it sticks ... this is a guy where we could face a handful of times,” Boone said. “So yeah I’m very curious.”

LINING UP

Gerrit Cole will start Thursday April 1. That’s a given. Boone, however, isn’t tipping his hand about how the rotation will line up after Opening day

“I have an idea. ... I haven’t really shared that with anyone. I have in my mind how I’m thinking about setting it up, but nothing’s settled yet or nothing’s final yet,” Boone said.

Saturday night, the Yankees pushed back Domingo German for two days — planned extra rest — to give Mike King a spring training start. The young right-hander doesn’t look like he will make the club out of camp, but in a year with so much uncertainty about pitchers’ workloads, he could be an important spot starter or long man at some point.

THE FINAL STRETCH

The Yankees came into camp with few position battles, but as they entered the final 10 days of camp, they did have some decisions to make. Jay Bruce, the lefty slugger who can play first and the corner outfield, has an opt-out in his minor league deal on Thursday. The Yankees have to weigh what they want to do with the bench and the final spots in the bullpen.

“We’ve got some difficult roster decisions. Are we going to add anyone? Who’s going to make it out of the pen? How do we start the year? All those finalizing roster questions that sometimes are only temporary and things change in a hurry, but those are the things that we’re really pretty hyper-focused on,” Boone said. “I feel good about where the 20-22 guys that we know are going to be on this team... But it’s really trying just to make the best decision for us moving forward on on those tougher decisions.”