Matt Harvey greeted with warm welcome in post-DFA return to Citi Field

Former Mets pitcher Matt Harvey’s fall from grace with the team was swift and somewhat shocking, coming to an abrupt conclusion on May 5th, when Harvey declined a minor league option and was designated for assignment.

Harvey had a breakout season in 2013, posting a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts over 178 innings. He started that year’s the All-Star Game in front of the home crowd at Citi Field, and looked poised to do great things for the franchise.

However, that position was short-lived, as he tore his UCL in August 2013, underwent Tommy John surgery in October, and missed the entirely of the 2014 season. In his 2015 return, Harvey put up a 13-8 record with a 2.71 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 189 innings as the Mets won the National League pennant.

But more injury woes struck in 2016, ending his campaign early, and yet more injury and behavior issues shortened his 2017 run.

Harvey started four games in 2018 before being sent to the bullpen, putting up an 0-2 record with a 7.00 ERA. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on May 8, and his numbers have since evened-out slightly, posting a 4.79 ERA with the new club.

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Matt Harvey with the New York Mets
ATLANTA, GA April 19: New York starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) looks on from the dugout during a game between Atlanta and New York on April 19, 2018 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 22, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Rockies defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets in action against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on April 19, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Nationals 7-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey #33 pitches the first inning with a bloody nose in MLB action against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field. (Photo By: Mark Bonifacio/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets in action against the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field on August 24, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Tigers defeated the Mets 3-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: Matt Harvey and Anne V attend the Washington Wizards vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets looks on before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 13, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Yankees 12-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Starting pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets throws a pitch to a Washington Nationals batter in the fourth inning during a baseball game at Nationals Park on April 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on May 23, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Daily News back page August 22, 2015, Headline: Harvey won't make scheduled start Sunday as innings limit looms SKIP HAPPENS - Matt Harvey says he's OK with being skipped Sunday in effort to limit his workload so he can pitch down the stretch in September.(Photo By: /NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets in action against the Chicago Cubs during game one of the 2015 MLB National League Championship Series at Citi Field on October 17, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
01 NOV 2015: New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) during Game 5 of the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals played at Citi Field in Flushing,NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 04: Pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets walks off the field against the Miami Marlins after the second inning during a game at Citi Field on July 4, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 09: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 9, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 6: Matt Harvey attends the Tom Ford Men's - Arrivals - February 2018 - New York Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on February 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 08: Starting pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park on April 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 09: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets looks on in the dugout against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Harvey returns to where it all began

Monday, the Reds headed to Citi Field for the first time since the trade, with Harvey’s reception looming as an unknown. Things got off to a rocky start when he scheduled a press conference Sunday at exactly the time the Mets requested he not, but that was later brushed off.

By all other accounts, Harvey’s presence has been received positively – with a touch of nostalgia.

The Mets pulled a classy move pre-game Monday, airing a tribute video to Harvey’s time with the team.

Fans reacted to the video warmly.

Harvey was also open with the media pregame about the emotional experience of getting DFA’d by the team that first drafted him over a decade ago.

And of course, the return would not be complete without a little shade from the Dark Knight himself.

It’s good everyone is laughing about the situation now, because four months ago, they sure weren’t.

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