PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- New York Mets ace Matt Harvey was cleared Thursday to start playing catch only four months after having reconstructive elbow surgery.
The 24-year-old right-hander was examined by team doctor David Altchek at the Mets' spring training facility Wednesday.
''He will start throwing soon,'' Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said. ''He'll play catch within the next couple days.''
Harvey, who had surgery on Oct. 22, stretched with pitchers and catchers on Thursday for the first time this spring. The Mets did not make him available for comment afterward and general manager Sandy Alderson has firmly stated that he did not want Harvey's rehab to be a major story this season.
Harvey earlier said he would like to throw on Feb. 22 but has backed off those comments since arriving in camp late last week. Warthen did not have an exact date that he expects Harvey to start his throwing program.
Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 2013, his first full season in the big leagues, and was the National League starter in the All-Star Game that was played at the Mets' home stadium. Harvey struggled after the All-Star break and the Mets announced he had a partial UCL tear in his right elbow on Aug. 26.