It doesn't sound like the biggest conflict in the world, and it most likely isn't, but it appears that Matt Harvey wants to do his rehab from Tommy John surgery in New York and be around the team, while the team would prefer that he stay in Port St. Lucie and far away from pretty much everyone except Jeremy Hefner.
Even though he knew that the Mets didn't want Harvey giving one-on-one interviews, Andy Martino talked to Harvey yesterday morning anyway and was able to get some solid quotes before being awkwardly interrupted by future public relations Hall-of-Famer Jay Horwitz.
Here's Harvey on why he wants to do his rehab work in New York:
"The biggest part is wanting to stay with the team. To learn the league. To learn Travis (d'Arnaud). To learn how to bond with the other starting pitchers, and the guys in the clubhouse, and the David Wrights who I plan on playing with."
I can't be the only one who thought about David Wright clones from reading this. This is Harvey on the supposed team-imposed media lockdown:
"It's just the fact that I have been not allowed to talk to anybody, and that every tweet or Instagram I send is, do not write," Harvey said. "My locker -- me and (Jeremy Hefner, also rehabbing) was basically in a closet. I didn't think that was right. I don't know exactly who was in charge of the situation. ["That was a decision made by clubhouse personnel," GM Sandy Alderson later told me].
The "me" at the end is Martino. Anyway, here's one more about Harvey just being a great teammate who loves being around the guys:
"I love going to the ballpark every day. I love watching. I love being the first guy in the dugout when we have a home game, and giving guys high five every time they come off the field. I take pride in that. And with that, I think being a good teammate is part of being a leader, and that's how I'd like to see myself."
After that, Martino and Harvey are interrupted by Horwitz, who told Martino that, "You're causing me some problems," before the interview was quickly wrapped up.
Later in the day, Martino reports that Sandy Alderson, who had heard about the interview presumably from Horwitz, met with Harvey to discuss his situation. After the meeting, Harvey told Martino that he felt "much better."
It's still not clear where Harvey will do most of his rehab this season, but Alderson says that while he'd prefer Harvey address the media as a group, he's allowed to give one-on-ones if he so desires.
So is this a big deal? It depends on how you weigh Harvey's frustrations in relation to his willingness to sign long-term with the team in a couple of years. I doubt this will have much of an impact, especially since everyone will be happy again when Harvey is healthy.
As for the team's media policy, it is a mystery as to its intentions. Maybe the Mets just want Harvey to really focus on his rehab and not be bogged down by interviews that are prompted by the fact that he's still the most interesting guy on the team. Maybe they don't want the other players to see him getting interviewed and get upset that the most important player (by perception) on the team is an injured guy. Maybe the team wants this season to be more about the Mets and less about Harvey.
Will Harvey be allowed to rehab in New York? I can see why the team wouldn't want to make an exception for Harvey and treat him like he is the franchise savior, but maybe his leadership concerns are valid and his teammates would be better served if he were nearby.
No matter what Harvey and management decide, it's good that the conflict appears on its way to resolution instead of being something that bothers us all season long.