'Excited' Harvey arrives at camp to begin Spring Training
After rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Mets' ace said he is fully healthy
By Paul Casella
Matt Harvey arrived at the Mets' Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Monday -- 10 days ahead of the club's scheduled reporting date -- and he told reporters that he is fully healthy and ready for the upcoming season.
Harvey missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery immediately following the 2013 season. Though he initially expressed a desire to try to pitch toward the end of the '14 campaign, Harvey instead returned to action on Monday in an approximately hour-long workout.
"I'm excited," Harvey told reporters at Mets camp. "I'm healthy. I'm right where I need to be, and I'm excited about getting started. The big test will be once hitters get in there and facing them. I've been throwing [bullpen sessions], and everything is right where I want it to be. It's an exciting Spring Training for me."
As for the club not rushing him back last season, Harvey said he's now fully on board with that call.
"Looking back on it, I think everybody made the right decision," Harvey said. "I'm in a good place right now."
Regarding the plan this season, Harvey said the exact details still need to be worked out. New York will limit Harvey's innings one way or another, but it's unclear at this point exactly how the club plans to do that.
The Mets could decide to use a predetermined midseason stint on the disabled list to curb Harvey's innings total, or they could rely on a regular regimen of skipping starts. Manager Terry Collins has also mentioned the possibility of pushing back Harvey's 2015 debut until the club's home opener on April 13.
"My goal is to be ready for Opening Day, regardless of what is decided," Harvey said. "We haven't really discussed anything. I don't think anything's set in stone."
Regardless of what the Mets ultimately decide, the idea is to avoid a Stephen Strasburg-style shutdown at the end of the season. Strasburg was shut down in early September 2012 in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, despite the fact that the Nationals were in the midst of a postseason race. Washington held on to qualify for the postseason, but it was eliminated in the National League Division Series.
As for Harvey, his situation is different due to the fact that he did not return toward the end of last season, and he will be more than 17 months removed from Tommy John surgery by the time the season begins. Strasburg, meanwhile, made five starts at the end of 2011, and he totaled 44 1/3 innings between the Majors and Minors prior to his full return in '12.
"I feel great; I feel extremely healthy," Harvey said. "With that, there is a lot of confidence. With the recovery process, I've had 15-plus months since surgery. The way that everything feels, the way that my [bullpen sessions] are going, it's definitely a positive thing."
Harvey's arrival at Mets camp, however, was all about being back on the field alongside his teammates instead of rehabbing off by himself in another bullpen session. On Monday, he worked out alongside Zack Wheeler and reigning NL Rookie of the Year Award winner Jacob deGrom, forming a scene that highlights the potential for New York's 2015 rotation.
"It's exciting to be back with this group and being able to work like one of them, and not being on the side doing your rehab," Harvey said. "It's fun to be part of the crew again."
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.