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Matt Harvey returns to Citi Field Monday as Mets open series against Reds

Reds pitcher Matt Harvey works against the Braves

Reds pitcher Matt Harvey works against the Braves during the second inning of a game on June 26 in Atlanta. Credit: AP/John Bazemore

Light up the Bat-Signal over Gotham on Monday: the Dark Knight is returning to New York.

Matt Harvey will be at Citi Field for three days as his current team, the Cincinnati Reds, visits his former team, the Mets.

Harvey, who lost to the Nationals, 6-2, on Saturday night, will not pitch in the Mets series. That’s a disappointment to those who love good theater and would like a reason to watch a Mets-Reds game.

Surprisingly, Harvey was not traded by Cincinnati before Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline. It was assumed that the Reds acquired Harvey on May 8 for catcher Devin Mesoraco in order to flip him to a contender. That still could happen in an August waiver deal, but for now, Harvey will call Cincinnati his home.

Apparently it’s one in which he’s gotten quite comfortable as a veteran on a young pitching staff.

“He’s been great,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said in a telephone interview on Saturday. “He’s been really great with some of our younger staff to help them improve. He’s been really good in the clubhouse. I know that there was stuff that went around him before, but we haven’t seen that here.”

Oh, there was “stuff” around Harvey. It may be why no contender was willing to pull the trigger on a deadline deal. Is Harvey’s stuff on the mound worth the kind of off-the-field issues he created with the Mets?

On Tuesday, after the deadline passed, Harvey told MLB.com: “I’m very happy. I know coming over here, there was all the talk about getting flipped right away as soon as things came back. To be on the other end of that where they want me here, it’s nice to know that.”

After getting banished to the bullpen by the Mets and then designated for assignment, Harvey has pitched well for the Reds.

Harvey had a 7.00 ERA in eight outings (four starts) for the Mets.

With the Reds, he was 5-4 with a 4.44 ERA in 14 starts going into Saturday. The loss to the Nationals dropped him to 5-7, 5.37.

Harvey has found his groove somewhat with the Reds, but not enough for a contender to deal for a 29-year-old who will be a free agent at season’s end. Harvey is making $5.625 million this season.

“To make a deal, a deal has to be made for both sides,” Krall said. “We just didn’t feel that deal was out there.”

If Harvey finishes the year with the Reds and doesn’t get to pitch for a contender or in the postseason, he will head into free agency with a resume that is severely diminished from when he was the ace of the Mets. But it’s improved from where it stood during the dark days of May.

Would the Reds consider trying to re-sign Harvey? Maybe what Harvey’s career needs is not the bright lights of Broadway but the softer lights of the Queen City.

“Matt’s going to be a free agent at the end of the season,” Krall said. “He’ll obviously dictate what happens with him. But he’s been great here.”

New York Sports