New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey took a significant step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery on Friday. For the first time since undergoing the operation in October, Harvey threw 15 mostly low intensity pitches from the Citi Field bullpen mound and apparently feels no worse for the wear, meaning he'll be able to turn up the intensity next week.
That's a good sign but the Mets will obviously keep a close eye on Harvey as he proceeds. It's no secret he intends to pitch in the major leagues this season, which is both an admirable and somewhat scary mindset for a rehabbing player. The Mets main concern — and basically their only concern — is that he avoids setbacks and gets back to one-hundred percent for the 2015 season. If Harvey pushes himself too hard, he could jeopardize that and leave the Mets in a tough position.
“I can’t write myself into the lineup, but I think the goal is to be healthy this year and show that I can have a normal offseason and prepare for a normal season. As a starting pitcher that’s the main goal,” Harvey said. “I’m not writing 2014 out, but there’s still a lot more to go and a lot more to prove in order to be healthy enough to come back. I think today was a big step and a big confidence boost for what’s ahead.
“If I work up to a couple of innings towards the middle or end of September, you never know,” he continued. “Obviously I can’t make that decision, but if I’m throwing it pretty well in September and we do have that opportunity, then hopefully I can push the decision a little bit.”
Yeah, that sounds like a guy who's still determined to pitch before the season ends.
The Mets, on the other hand, are looking a little further down the line.
Sandy Alderson aim is for Matt Harvey to pitch in fall instructional league in Florida and maybe one Arizona Fall League game.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) August 1, 2014
That sounds like a fair compromise if Harvey wants to get back into game competition. More importantly, it sounds like a smart plan. Now they just have to make sure Harvey is convinced that's a smart plan and is willing to put a smart plan ahead of his competitive spirit.
That's easier said than done, and will likely will be a constant battle until Harvey's finally cleared.
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