Starting pitcher Matt Harvey returns to Orioles on minor league deal regardless of ‘very unique’ off-field state of affairs – Baltimore Sun

The Orioles have signed right-hander Matt Harvey to a minor league deal, the crew introduced Friday, reuniting with the previous All-Star who began 28 video games for Baltimore final season.

On Thursday, government vice chairman and common supervisor Mike Elias acknowledged the “very unique situation” surrounding Harvey, who testified on the trial of former Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay in February. Kay was discovered responsible of two felony counts and faces a minimal of 20 years in jail for distributing medicine to Tyler Skaggs, which led to the Angels pitcher’s overdose demise in 2019.

In Harvey’s testimony, the 33-year-old detailed his personal expertise utilizing medicine. Cocaine was his drug of selection, Harvey mentioned, and he continued to make use of the drug after he signed with the Angels in 2019. He additionally shared Percocet tablets with Skaggs when Skaggs requested if Harvey had both Percocet or oxycodone.

Skaggs, 27, was discovered lifeless July 1, 2019, the day after the crew had traveled from Los Angeles and earlier than the beginning of a sequence in opposition to the Texas Rangers. A coroner’s report mentioned Skaggs had choked to demise on his vomit, and a poisonous mixture of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone had been in his system.

Harvey may very well be dealing with a suspension of not less than 60 days because of a violation of MLB’s drug coverage for drug distribution, in response to ESPN. MLB mentioned in February that they’d conduct a overview of the matter after the trial was accomplished, and that course of is ongoing.

At the trial, Harvey mentioned he believed his testimony would threaten his profession.

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“Obviously, he’s in the situation he’s in right now because of off-the-field things,” Elias mentioned. “But getting to know him last year, understanding his approach to what’s gone on, our point of view is that this was something that shouldn’t prevent him from having another chance with this organization, especially with the way he conducted himself last year.”

Harvey had a 3.60 ERA in his first seven begins, organising a tantalizing return to Citi Field to face the New York Mets on May 12, however he allowed seven runs that day in opposition to his former crew to kick off a stretch of 11 begins by which he had an 11.20 ERA. He pitched higher after the All-Star break however completed the season with a 6.27 ERA throughout 127 2/3 innings, second most behind left-hander John Means, in 28 begins.

Elias acknowledged the stat line “wasn’t the prettiest,” however there are different elements he considers when approaching a deal for Harvey.

“He did a lot to help us last year,” Elias mentioned. “The innings that he threw, the luck that he had, and I think most importantly for us, the pro and the teammate that he was in helping us get through a very difficult season was something that we wanted back. We feel he might provide us depth and he might be able to help us and he was in the process of kind of unlocking some things, coming off an injury.”

Having Harvey within the system would possibly be a safety blanket of types. Baltimore has seen breakthroughs from Means and right-hander Tyler Wells, however Elias is ready to see consistency from his different younger arms. The fifth starter function isn’t set in stone.

That may open room for a pitcher with Harvey’s expertise — and his potential to chew innings. There stays the uncertainty of a looming suspension for Harvey, however his presence within the group provides one other lengthy choice.

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