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Struggling Matt Harvey could be sent to Mets bullpen

Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey blows on his

Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey blows on his hand during the third inning against the Braves on Thursday in Atlanta. Credit: AP / John Bazemore

ATLANTA — Matt Harvey’s fate remains uncertain, Mickey Callaway said Friday, but sending him to the bullpen is an option. Callaway noted that he and pitching coach Dave Eiland have a history of turning starters into short-term relievers before bringing them back to the rotation.

Callaway did it most prominently in Cleveland with Carlos Carrasco, in addition to Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar. Eiland did it in Kansas City with Danny Duffy.

“Duffy comes back, makes [26] starts and makes $65 million,” Callaway said, referencing the extension Duffy signed with the Royals after a 2016 season split between the rotation and bullpen. “We have experience with that. We can help guys. Guys have to be willing to be helped.”

The last part is questionable with Harvey, who, after getting hit around by the Braves on Thursday night, was asked about the possibility of relieving and declared: “I’m a starting pitcher. I’ve always been a starting pitcher.”

The Mets are discussing internally which starter to remove from the rotation when lefthander Jason Vargas returns, which is scheduled for next weekend in San Diego. Harvey has struggled in three of his four starts this season, though Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler also are options.

“We’re looking at everything,” Callaway said. “Stuff, effectiveness. We’re looking at who can handle a bullpen role best. We’re looking into, does it make sense for somebody to go to Triple-A and just [continue] pitching to add depth? There’s tons of things we’re considering and we’re trying to leave no stone unturned right now.

“[Harvey] made that pretty clear that he wants to be a starter. And I don’t blame him. I think everybody wants to start. What we are trying to do as a team is do what’s best for the team and for the players.”

Harvey would need to approve being sent to the minors because of his major-league service time.

Callaway said he has not yet sought Harvey’s input on the matter. When it comes to moving a starter to the bullpen, Callaway said, “Ideally, you get buy-in.” But it’s not required.

“Sometimes decisions are decisions, and people have to live with them,” Callaway said. “We’ll do the best we can to help each and every one of these players succeed in whatever role they’re in.”

Vargas to Vegas

Vargas (broken right hand) is scheduled to be evaluated by a doctor Saturday and start for Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday.

That would put him on track to return next Saturday against the Padres. With a team off day Monday, the Mets could choose to skip Harvey’s spot in the rotation if Vargas indeed is ready.

As advertised?

Rookie righthander Gerson Bautista’s fastball is averaging 95.8 mph in his first two major-league appearances.

“About the same we saw in spring training,” Callaway said.

Bautista regularly reached triple digits last summer, his former manager, Chad Kreuter, said during spring training. Callaway didn’t seem concerned about the drop.

Extra bases

Tomas Nido threw out two runners trying to steal second base Friday night. Mets catchers had been 0-for-21 in trying to stop would-be base-stealers . . . Jay Bruce’s bloop double in the sixth ended his 0-for-19 skid. MLB’s Statcast, which evaluates batted balls based on how hard and at what angle they are hit, assigned it a 1 percent chance of being a hit, but it fell in near the line in medium-depth leftfield. Wilmer Flores tried to score from first on the play but was thrown out at home . . . Michael Conforto (0-for-4, walk) has reached base in all 14 games he has played this season, though his average is down to .209.

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