Mets manager Buck Showalter said on Friday he talked to Chris Bassitt about controversial comments the pitcher made a day earlier about his recent stay on the COVID-19 list.
Bassitt, who said he tested positive on June 29 on a home test, said he regretted informing the Mets because he never had any symptoms, and added that he “probably” won’t tell his team if he tests positive again for “the rest of my career.”
Bassitt also said “it’s ridiculous we’re still doing it” in regard to MLB’s COVID testing and restrictions for players who test positive.
Bassitt’s comments brought up all kinds of questions about his responsibility to his team and his teammates and whether MLB’s COVID policy — in which asymptomatic players who test positive have to sit out until they are negative over a period of time — makes sense.
Bassitt, who last pitched on June 25, was activated off the COVID list on Friday and started against the Marlins at Citi Field.
Showalter was asked if he addressed the issue with Bassitt.
“If we had — which I wouldn’t, certainly, broadcast it — we talked to Chris and what have you,” Showalter said. “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I’m not going to get into anything politically. He’s free to express himself as a human being. We’ve talked. I’ll leave it at that.”
Showalter said he was more concerned about how Bassitt would fare on the mound after the long layoff.
“I hope he’s strong tonight and gets people out,” Showalter said. “I don’t know if he’s going to be too strong. He’s been working a lot, though. Maybe too much. We’ll see.”
On Thursday, Bassitt said he wasn’t worried about coming back from the layoff because he was able to do “everything” during his absence. Everything except pitch for the Mets, that is.
Bassitt said that during his time in quarantine, he “threw, worked out, ran. Everything.”
But the Ohio native and free-agent-to-be seemed to take a shot at New York’s COVID restrictions when asked how he passed the time other than his solo baseball activities.
“I’m in New York, so I’m not allowed to do anything,” he said. “So I just sat in my living room for seven days or went on a run or went to a park with my daughter, something like that.”
Showalter said he wasn’t going to predict how Bassitt would pitch on Friday because he learned a long time ago not to try to predict baseball.
“Billy Martin told me a long time ago,” Showalter said. “We were going down a tunnel in spring training, all the [minor- league] managers. He would bring us all in and we would walk behind him like little chickadees — or the rooster and the hen, I should say — and he’d stop at a drill and say, ‘This is what I want you to do in Oneonta and Fort Lauderdale and Albany.’ But he’d say to me, ‘C’mon, let’s go see what the boys have in store for us today,’ and I’ve always remembered that. Something happens in the game. You go, ‘Wow. Where did that come from?’ ”
Reed sent down. Jake Reed, who threw two scoreless innings on Thursday, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Bassitt.
With Bassitt back, Showalter said Trevor Williams likely will be switching roles again.
Williams, who allowed two hits in seven innings in a 10-0 victory over Miami on Thursday, is not assured of making another start.
“He will probably go back in the bullpen,” Showalter said. “Depending on everybody’s health and how they come out of this next start, which means it’ll probably be at least three days before he figures back in there.”