Matt Harvey, a veteran pitcher under a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, was suspended for 60 games by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for distributing an illegal drug.
Harvey, who was once the ace in a Mets starting rotation that led the team to the 2015 World Series, openly discussed his drug use during the trial of former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay. who was convicted on two counts for his role. in the death of Tyler Skaggs, a team pitcher. Skaggs, a 2019 Harvey’s on the Angels bandmate, was found dead at age 27 in a Texas hotel room after overdosing on a mix of drugs, including fentanyl.
During Kay’s trial, in which Harvey and several former teammates were candid about drug use among Angels players, Harvey, 33, said cocaine was his drug of choice but he started to use Percocet, an opioid, during the 2019 season. He said he shared some Percocet with Skaggs. Federal prosecutors said Skaggs was killed by the fentanyl given to him by Kay, not the Percocet given to him by Harvey, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.
Kay’s attorneys, who argued drugs provided by Harvey could have been what killed Skaggs, asked Harvey if he ever told his teammate to be careful about his drug use.
“Looking back, I wish I had it,” Harvey said. “In baseball, you do everything you can to stay on the field. At the time, I felt like as a teammate, I was just helping him get through whatever he needed to get through.
In MLB’s announcement of Harvey’s punishment, the league said Harvey violated the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by distributing a drug of abuse and that the suspension was retroactive to the April 29. Under the terms of his contract with Baltimore, Harvey would receive $1 million this season if he made the team’s 40-man roster. He hasn’t pitched in any game, major or minor, this season.
In February, a Fort Worth jury found Kay, a former Angels communications director, guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance causing death and serious bodily injury. He faces between 20 years and life in prison and is expected to be sentenced on June 28.