The worst-kept secret in sports was finally revealed Monday.
Matt Harvey will start the 84th All-Star Game for the National League.
NL manager Bruce Bochy made the announcement during an early afternoon press conference at Citi Field with Harvey, Honorary NL President Bill Giles, Honorary AL President Jackie Autry, AL manager Jim Leyland and AL starter Max Scherzer.
“It really wouldn’t have mattered what city we would have been playing in with the year he has had, the impressive numbers that he’s put up,” Bochy said. “He would have been the starting pitcher but the fact that it is here, it is an honor for me to name Matt Harvey the starting pitcher [Tuesday night].”
Harvey is only the third Mets starting pitcher to be named an All-Star Game starter, joining Tom Seaver in 1970 and Dwight Gooden in 1986.
“It’s a huge honor. It’s definitely a huge honor and something I’m very excited about,” Harvey said. “To be named with those guys, they are two of the best.
“It’s going to be a good experience.”
By and large, the 2013 season has been a good experience for Harvey. The first-time All Star has a 7-2 record in 19 starts with a 2.35 ERA. He has struck out 147 in 130 innings, and opponents are hitting .196 off the right-hander.
“I came [to spring training] and obviously wanted to do everything I could to fill in for R.A. Dickey, who had a tremendous season last year,” Harvey said.
The Mets traded Dickey to the Blue Jays in December, acquiring prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra, along with catcher John Buck. The trade was announced exactly 33 days after Dickey became the third Mets pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Seaver (1969, 1973, 1975) and Gooden (1985) were the other Mets Cy Young winners.
“We knew him not being with us, it was going to take a lot and someone needed to step in. It was a role I wanted to take and something I took pride in. Having this opportunity and getting the nod is one step closer. It’s something that I’m very proud of and obviously it’s more drive to keep going and hopefully make this not my last All-Star Game.”
Harvey had been scheduled to pitch the Mets’ 4-2 loss to the Pirates Saturday night, but was skipped over due to blisters and the realization that he would pitch at some point tonight. Bochy said he and manager Terry Collins spoke about Harvey’s health during the Mets-Giants series in San Francisco last week.
“He’s only limited to 100, 120 pitches. Not going to try and go too hard,” Bochy joked, before growing serious. “Naturally, I talked to Terry a few time and we just played them in our town, and he let me know exactly where [Harvey’s] at. He’s fine; he’s healthy.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.