The Matt Harvey era is nigh.
The Mets announced after Sunday’s loss that the pitching prospect will make his debut Thursday at Arizona.
Manager Terry Collins spoke of bringing up Harvey, the No. 2 prospect in the organization behind fellow starter Zack Wheeler according to Baseball America, before the game Sunday. It was obvious then the young pitcher would get the call. It was just a matter of when.
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“It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter,” Collins said in his pre-game press conference Sunday morning when asked if he wanted the crown jewel of the Mets’ farm system to start on the road in order to limit distractions.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Collins said. “When the time comes, it’ll be because he’s the guy.”
Harvey was hammered in the Bisons’ 11-0 loss to Charlotte (the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate) Saturday night. He surrendered six runs on seven hits and walked two in five innings to fall to 7-5.
Collins, who said he spoke to Wally Backman Sunday morning “for an hour,” suggested that Harvey’s mind was with the Mets and not the Bisons.
“Matt didn’t pitch very [well Saturday] night. But he has been pitching [well],” Collins said. “[Saturday] night was one of those situations that with all of the talk, his mind was in New York and not necessarily in Buffalo. Which I totally understand, completely.
“You have to throw those starts out. Part of the whole thing is being here, in New York. Everything is a story. Matt Harvey has become a story,” Collins said. “A young guy trying to get to the big leagues, it’s certainly understandable that the focus may go in different directions.”
Harvey, drafted in the first round out of UNC in 2010, is 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo.
Collins announced Jeremy Hefner (1-3, 5.85 ERA) will start Wednesday’s get-away day series finale against the Nationals. Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start that game for the Nationals, so it would not be surprising if the Mets wanted to avoid a marquee match-up in an already hyped debut.
Following the game, the Mets will begin an 11-day, 11-game West Coast road trip where they will play Arizona, San Francisco and San Diego.
“We’re trying to get through the next couple days due to what’s happened the last two days,” Collins said before the Harvey announcement was made. “Thursday, to me, is a long way away.”
Batista gets the boot
The Mets called up Elvin Ramirez from Triple-A Buffalo Sunday morning and designated Miguel Batista for assignment.
Batista was 1-3 with a 4.82 ERA in 46 2/3 innings pitched as a spot starter and long reliever this season. He started Saturday afternoon’s 8-5 loss to the Dodgers and lasted three innings. Batista allowed four runs on five hits and walked three.
Still, Collins praised Batista for being teaching the organization’s youth how to be professionals.
“Hopefully he clears and decides to stay, goes down and pitches a little bit more,” Collins said. “Miguel’s done a great job. He’s a first-class guy, brings a lot to the party as far as his clubhouse presence, especially that Dominican presence with [Jordany] Valdespin and a couple young guys. He’s been great trying to get those guys to mature at this level. He’s done a good job.
“Whenever you call his name, he pitches. So it was tough,” Collins said. “We needed to make a move to get another pitcher here and he was the guy.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.