PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Perhaps Matt Harvey was simply . . . peeved. But one day after revealing that his mystery illness was a bladder infection, triggering a flood of potty humor at his expense, the Mets ace was apparently in no mood to talk.
Harvey allowed three runs in two innings Wednesday in his final spring tuneup, a 12-1 loss to the Nationals, and then refused to meet with the media as is customary for the starting pitcher.
“Today I thought he threw the ball all right,” manager Terry Collins said. “He got behind in the count to a couple of guys.”
Ryan Zimmerman delivered the biggest blow with a towering three-run homer off Harvey, who had been slated to start Monday, until symptoms from his bladder infection prompted the Mets to scratch him.
“You can say whatever you want about it, but it’s still spring training,” Collins said. “We’ll worry about how he throws the ball on Sunday night.”
Harvey, who is on schedule to start the season opener in Kansas City against the Royals, walked off the mound with a 7.50 ERA. But he was far from the only Met to endure a bumpy day. Lucas Duda made a throwing error and Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a ball in centerfield, which brought flashbacks to the World Series. Closer Jeurys Familia allowed five runs (three earned), although scouts said his velocity appeared improved.
But if there’s a time to get those hiccups out of the system, it’s now.
“Nobody likes to play bad,” Collins said after the team’s final game in Florida. “But right now, one thing we know is it’s about getting them in shape, getting them the at-bats they need and the innings they need. When the bright lights come on, then you take a look at what the end product is, so we’ll worry about that.”
Camp was rife with the telltale signs that Opening Day was approaching quickly. For much of spring training, the white board that hangs to the left of Collins’ desk displayed the name of every player in camp, all arranged by position. On Wednesday, it was wiped clean.
Boxes and belongings littered the clubhouse floor, being prepared for loading onto trucks. Players wore suits and ties for the charter to Las Vegas, where their final dress rehearsal begins Thursday with the first of two exhibition games against the Cubs, their adversary in last year’s NLCS.
The Mets departed Florida without a victory since March 17, a span of 13 games.
“Certainly, we didn’t swing the bats very good the last week,” Collins said. “But is it a red flag? What do you want me to say? We didn’t have a good record in spring training. But in three more days we’re 0-0. That’s all I’m worried about.”
Not all of it was bad.
Despite the results, Harvey showed no ill effects from his bladder infection scare. Noah Syndergaard, who enjoyed a smooth spring, allowed two runs in three innings while feeling “a little out of whack” in his final appearance before he starts against the Royals on Tuesday.
“I didn’t have that little extra life on my fastball, but you’re not going to have your best stuff every day,” he said. “You have to go out there and perform regardless.”
But even then, Syndergaard kept his eye trained on the real prize.
“I’m pleased with how things went and I’m looking forward for the season to start,” he said. “I’ll be getting the ball back in six days. I’ll be ready to go then.”