PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson described it as a secondary factor, but acknowledged Tuesday that Matt Harvey (pictured) not getting assigned the home opener in part was based on maximizing ticket sales at Citi Field.
Alderson said reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom getting named the starter for the April 13 home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies mostly was based on merit. Harvey missed all of last season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Still, the GM acknowledged that multiple secondary factors -- including ticket sales -- are weighed in making pitching assignments.
Harvey's first home game after a season-long absence figures to provide an attendance bump on April 14. Last season, the Mets drew 42,442 on Opening Day at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals and 29,146 the second game.
"Look, we take a lot of things into account," Alderson said. "I think the first and foremost is: Does any pitcher deserve to pitch in a game of that sort? And I think that was the primary focus. You're assuming people are more interested in seeing Harvey pitch than Jacob. That's probably true, but not something that I would acknowledge."
As for selling extra tickets for Day 2 being a secondary consideration, Alderson said: "There are lots of secondary considerations."
Ticket sales among those?
"Could be," Alderson said with a smile.