BOSTON - Hunter Harvey found out around 10:30 p.m. last night that the Orioles wanted him in Boston. He made it after a 3:30 a.m. wakeup call for a flight out of Syracuse 90 minutes later, good sleep put on hold with no regrets.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that you’re in the big leagues,” Harvey said this afternoon while standing outside the clubhouse at Fenway Park.
“It’s just been a long path and just trying to beat all these injuries and get ahead of them. And it’s an awesome feeling to know I was going back to the big leagues.”
Harvey spent two days with the Orioles last April, didn’t pitch and headed back down to Double-A Bowie before injuries again stalled his career.
A long-awaited debut could happen this weekend.
“I enjoyed it last year,” he said. “It was kind of nice. It gave me a little taste and helped burn that fire down there. We’ve got to work, we’ve got to get back to where we were. It was good to be up here and get a little taste last year and I’m ready to stay here.”
Arriving this soon, with the Orioles putting him on a strict innings limit, came as a big surprise to Harvey.
“I thought if I did have a chance it would be the September call-ups, and when I got that phone call last night I was kind of blown away,” he said. “I was like, well this is crazy. I wouldn’t expect it to be this early and it kind of blew me away.”
Harvey has made his last 15 appearances coming out of the bullpen, the first on June 14 with the Baysox and the last 12 with Triple-A Norfolk.
“I’ve enjoyed it quite well, actually,” he said. “It was a little different at first. Like the other day we went back-to-back for the first time, so trying to figure out how to do that and bounce back quick. It was really cool.”
The mentality changed with the new role.
“For me, you’re not rolling the lineup, so it’s a little bit different,” Harvey said. “You don’t have to set guys up one at-bat and then worry about them later in the game. You might see everybody once. You throw everything you’ve got and try to beat them.”
Staying off the injured list always has been the primary goal, and Harvey referenced it when asked what he wants to show everyone.
“Just that I’m healthy and I’m ready to compete and leave it all out on the field,” he said.
No more injuries, like the one to his shoulder that he got last summer at Bowie while trying to avoid a line drive in the dugout. He didn’t pitch after June 1.
The line “just that I’m healthy” is spoken, but sounds more like music to his ears.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’ve been trying to stay that for the last couple of years. I thought I had it last year and then something crazy happened. Just to be in August already, it’s been crazy to even think about that.”
Harvey will have some support at Fenway Park. His father, former major league closer Bryan Harvey, made the trip from North Carolina as soon as he found out.
“My dad drove through the night to be here, so it’s pretty cool to have him here,” Harvey said.
Harvey’s girlfriend and a close friend also rushed to Boston.
“It’s been really cool,” he said.