Matt Harvey, the veteran starting pitcher who has struggled to repeat his early career stardom with the New York Mets, was handed a 60-game suspension Tuesday for distributing a banned drug of abuse and violating Major League Baseball’s drug program. was assigned.
Harvey, 33, is on a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and is at the team’s expanded spring training facility in Sarasota, Florida. An industry source told ESPN that his suspension is retroactive to April 29 and is the result of a negotiated settlement that would allow minor league games to count towards punishment.
Harvey’s suspension links his testimony in the February trial of former Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay, who faces a minimum 20-year prison sentence related to the sudden death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Harvey admitted to being a cocaine and oxycodone user under immunity from criminal conviction and occasionally providing oxycodone pills to Skaggs while playing for the Angels in 2019.
Skaggs was found dead in his Southlake, Texas, hotel room on the morning of July 1, 2019, after suffocating from his own vomit. A medical examiner later ruled that Skaggs’s system contained fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol. At the conclusion of an eight-day trial in Fort Worth, Texas, a federal grand jury found Kaye guilty of two felony counts, agreeing with the U.S. government that he distributed the deadly drug fentanyl and caused Skaggs’ death.
Sentencing will be done on June 28.
Harvey was one of five former Angels players who played C.J. Krone, along with Cam Bedrosian, Mike Morin and Blake Parker, admitted to receiving illegal opioids from Kay. But the players, who also had immunity, testified only to their own opioid use and, unlike Harvey, did not admit to distributing the drugs to anyone else.
Those players would not face suspension under MLB’s drug policy, unless they had previously violated a policy regarding drugs of abuse. Unlike players caught using performance-enhancing drugs, players who use drugs of abuse such as opioids or cocaine are sent to an evaluation treatment board for their first offense and the violation is not made public. .
Harvey told federal prosecutors that he had a drug source on the East Coast and sometimes obtained opioids for Skaggs through that source. He said he shared “three, maybe four” pink pills with Skaggs in June 2019, though he didn’t remember whether they were oxycodone or Percocet.
Harvey was a budding star for the Mets early in his career, finishing fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2013 as a 24-year-old. After Tommy John’s surgery, he helped bring the Mets to the World Series in 2015.
However, he has struggled since posting an ERA of 5.92 in 539⅓ innings, bouncing with the Mets, Angels, Orioles, Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals from 2016 to 2021.
Harvey went 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA in 28 for the Orioles team that lost 110 games last year, then returned to the team on a minor league deal that would see him return to the major leagues on April 8 with $1 million.
“We support all aspects of MLB’s combined drug prevention and treatment program and their decision in this particular case,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. I’m glad Matt now has the opportunity to keep this part of his past. Behind him and after serving his suspension let’s chase down another shot with our outfit.”
Harvey, who was on the injured list and thus not on the road with the Angels on July 1, 2019, said he threw away his remaining oxycodone pills when he learned that Skaggs had died because he was “no longer than her.” Didn’t want to do anything.”
Asked if he ever warned Skaggs to be careful, Harvey said in court: “Looking back, I wish I had. In baseball, you do everything you can to stay on the field.” At the time, I felt that as a teammate I was just helping him achieve whatever he needed to achieve.”