Orioles' Matt Harvey Suspended 60 Games for Distributing Prohibited Drug of Abuse

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 17, 2022

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Starting pitcher Matt Harvey #32 of the Baltimore Orioles throws to a Kansas City Royals batter in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 08, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Right-handed pitcher Matt Harvey, who is currently signed with the Baltimore Orioles on a minor-league deal, has been suspended 60 games without pay for "participating in the distribution of a prohibited drug of abuse in violation of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," per Marc Feinsand of MLB.com.

The start date for Harvey's suspension is retroactive to April 29, 2022.

The suspension stems from Harvey's admission in federal court in the United States v. Eric Kay case that he provided opioids to ex-Los Angeles Angels teammate Tyler Skaggs, who died on July 1, 2019, after ingesting oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol.

Per ESPN's T.J. Quinn, a federal jury found ex-Angels communications director Eric Kay guilty of distributing the fentanyl which led to Skaggs' death.

Harvey will not be criminally prosecuted after the federal government granted him immunity in exchange for testifying, per Quinn.

He said he gave Skaggs six or seven Percocet but that Kay distributed drugs to Skaggs otherwise.

As Quinn noted, Harvey is able to appeal the suspension.

The former New York Mets ace has been pitching in Orioles' extended spring training. Dan Connolly of The Athletic reported word from O's general manager Mike Elias on how Harvey had been progressing on April 27:

Dan Connolly @danconnolly2016

Matt Harvey will pitch again tomorrow in extended spring in Sarasota, working his way to an affiliate. Elias said his stuff and velocity has looked good. He's not commenting on whether Harvey will be looking at a MLB suspension, but said he'll have a progression in the minors.

Harvey signed the minor-league deal with the Orioles on April 8. Elias called it a "very unique situation" and expanded upon those comments further with reporters, per Andy Kostka of the Baltimore Sun:

"Obviously, he's in the situation he's in right now because of off-the-field things. But getting to know him last year, understanding his approach to what's gone on, our point of view is that this was something that shouldn't prevent him from having another chance with this organization, especially with the way he conducted himself last year."

Harvey will earn a prorated $1 million salary for any time spent in the big leagues. He played for the Orioles last year, going 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA. Still, Elias believes that he can help the team:

"He did a lot to help us last year. The innings that he threw, the luck that he had, and I think most importantly for us, the pro and the teammate that he was in helping us get through a very difficult season was something that we wanted back. We feel he might provide us depth and he might be able to help us and he was in the process of kind of unlocking some things, coming off an injury."

Harvey has pitched nine MLB seasons with the Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Angels, Kansas City Royals and Orioles. His heyday came with the Mets, when he started the 2013 All-Star Game for the National League and helped lead the 2015 squad to the NL pennant.