Injuries, sex toys and Matt Harvey's suspension: The Mets' season, sideways

The New York Mets are no longer a baseball team, they’re a soap opera.

There’s not a reality-TV show on any cable outlet in the land that can touch this stuff.

When the Mets are not mishandling injuries, they’re taking goofy pictures with sex toys in the background. When they’re not desperately looking for healthy pitchers, they’re suspending them.

Matt Harvey, who once represented the bright future of their franchise, provided the latest drama. He was ordered by the Mets front office to go home, suspended three days without pay for violation of team rules.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins refused to publicly divulge the details that led to Harvey’s suspension, although Fox Sports reported that Harvey had a migraine Saturday and did not report to the Mets’ clubhouse work, citing a miscommunication.

“We’ll keep it in-house, the way it’s supposed to be,’’ Collins told reporters at Citi Field. “In order to be able to control things you’ve got to sometimes make tough decisions, and this is one of them.’’

Simply, it’s just the latest sub-plot to the Mets’ season storyline:

They're a mess, and getting messier by the day.

Even when they win, they lose.

PHOTOS | Braves at SunTrust Park

They finally win three games in a row, scoring five or more runs for the ninth consecutive game, their longest streak in a decade. Yet, just as the Mets convened Sunday morning at Citi Field in hopes of sweeping the Miami Marlins, they learned that Harvey will be not be starting after all. It’ll be Adam Wilk, a 29-year-old journeyman who has made three starts in his big-league career, with just one appearance in five years.

After just four batters, Wilk - and by extension, Harvey - had the Mets in a major hole. Wilk recorded an out and then surrendered a walk, single and three-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton, giving the Marlins a 3-0 advantage before the Mets even had a chance to grab a bat.

Stanton blasted another homer in his next at-bat off Wilk, who departed having given up six runs and eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings.

Well, if nothing else, the good news about Harvey’s suspension is that it’ll at least be three days before he can possibly get hurt.

The Mets’ rotation is in shambles these days, Jacob deGrom the only starter in their season-opening quintet to remain unscathed. Noah Syndergaard is out for two to three months with a torn lat. Steve Matz and Seth Lugo still haven’t pitched this year. And now Harvey (5.14 ERA) has been ordered to take a seat.

No wonder why the Mets are taking a look at the possibility of signing veteran free-agent starter Doug Fister.

The Mets’ everyday lineup, the oldest in the National League, is almost as big a mess. All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, first baseman Lucas Duda, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and third baseman David Wright are all on the DL. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera went down Saturday with an injured thumb, which could accelerate the Mets' promotion of Amed Rosario, their top prospect.

Their greatest break they’ve received all year was their inability to find a taker for 30-year-old right fielder Jay Bruce. They desperately tried to trade him all winter and now that he’s hitting .291 with nine homers, 25 RBI and a .985 OPS, he has become indispensable. Bruce and outfielder Michael Conforto (.342, seven homers and 1.093 OPS) have rescued a lineup that has more everyday players on the DL than on the field.

Still, the Mets have managed to somehow survive, insisting they will learn from their past mistakes. When a player refuses to undergo an MRI like Syndergaard did when he was scratched from his start with biceps soreness, the Mets may actually intervene next time, and act responsible. The Mets permitted Syndergaard to make his start, and four outs later, was out with a torn lat muscle that could keep him sidelined until August.

“In the face of what transpired this time,’’ Alderson told reporters, “I would have to consider that very seriously before saying no. On the other hand, one thing I want to emphasize is we make these decisions every day. And one of them certainly went sideways.

“It’s not like this comes up once a month, once a season, once a decade, it comes up all the time. Because it happens all the time, we need to make sure that our decision-making process, that ends with me, is as good as it can possibly be.’’

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced on Sunday that starting pitcher Matt Harvey is being suspended for three days for a violation of team rules. Time_Sports

Despite all of the adversity, the Mets, 14-15, still have a legitimate shot to reach the postseason. Sure, maybe they’re not going to catch the runaway Washington Nationals (21-9) in the NL East, but if the Mets can ever become healthy, they certainly have the talent to capture a wild-card spot.

If nothing else, maybe now more than ever, they need that sense of humor, too.

If the year hasn’t been embarrassing enough, the Mets managed to add to it when they took a photo Friday on their official Twitter account of first baseman T.J. Rivera, the star of Friday’s game, posing in front of catcher Kevin Plawecki’s locker.

The trouble was that someone apparently placed a sex toy in Plawecki’s locker, and when the photo was tweeted to the Mets' 837,000 followers, there it was, for the world to see.

“We’ve got some good pranksters in here, that’s for sure,” Plawecki said. “I mean what can you do? Just got to laugh this one off.”

Really, considering all of the Mets’ misadventures this season, maybe that should be their team refrain:

“Laugh this one off.’’

Only, there comes a time, as Harvey apparently found out, when the laughter stops.

Not even Tim Tebow can spare them now.

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