Day after Mets say there will be no cap, ace says he got number from Tommy John surgeon
By Steve Wilaj
MIAMI -- Mets ace Matt Harvey spoke about his innings-limit topic prior to the team's 7-0 win over the Marlins on Saturday at Marlins Park for the first time since his agent, Scott Boras, told CBS Sports on Friday that he shouldn't exceed 180 innings to protect his health.
While Harvey insisted that he's solely focused on his next start -- Tuesday vs. the second-place Nationals -- the right-hander, who is at 166 1/3 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, said he was given a 180-inning limit from his surgeon, James Andrews. He also didn't confirm that he would pitch in the postseason should the National League East-leading Mets contend, though he didn't deny it, either.
"I never want to put the ball down," Harvey said. "Obviously, I hired Scott as my agent and went with Dr. Andrews as my surgeon because I trusted them to keep my career going and keep me healthy. As far as being out there and being with my teammates and playing, I'm never going to want to stop. But as far as the surgeon and the agent having my back and looking out for the best of my career, they're obviously speaking their minds."
Prior to Friday's game, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said the organization's plan for Harvey doesn't involve a strict innings cap, adding that Harvey will have a start skipped later in the month as the club moves to a six-man rotation.
However, Harvey said the 180-inning limit has been in place for a while, although he wasn't sure whether that total was just for the regular season or both the regular season and postseason combined.
"I know from having 178 [innings pitched in 2013], I think the whole idea was to not exceed that too much," he said. "As far as worrying about that in April, I was more worried about getting to this point and having a full season."
The 26-year-old has held up so far, going 12-7 with a 2.60 ERA in 25 starts this season. He said his right arm currently feels healthy and "great," but added that he will reassess his situation with Andrews -- with whom he spoke as recently as two weeks ago -- following Tuesday's outing.
"I've been on the phone with Dr. Andrews and I've been on the phone with [Boras]," Harvey said. "What Dr. Andrews said is his limit is 180 [innings]. That's what Dr. Andrews had said. But for me, I have 166 innings and I don't know any much more than what I have to do Tuesday against the Nationals."
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson had a slightly different view of the situation in comments he made to the Daily News on Saturday night.
"The plan last winter was 185 innings plus the playoffs," Alderson told the paper. "Let's shoot for 185 and see where we are at the end of the regular season and make a decision then about the playoffs depending on the condition of the player."
One important consideration is whether the 180-inning threshold pertains only to the regular season, or the regular season and the playoffs.
"He wants to pitch," Boras said on ESPN's Baseball Tonight on Saturday. "I just told him that we're going to be -- I had a long conversation today, and we're going to be talking early in the week. He wants to examine his outings and see where he's at. And I'm trying to understand the dynamic as best I can to see if we can arrange a possible fit where Matt can perform in the season and in the playoffs and yet really address how this risk reduction can be managed."
After Harvey made his comments on Saturday, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that Boras plans to meet with Andrews this coming week. According to Rosenthal, Boras thought the Mets were planning all along to shut down Harvey in a similar fashion to the way the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg in 2012, and the issue moved to the frontburner in August when the Mets started to look more and more like a playoff team.
"My assumption was that they were doing the Strasburg approach," Boras said. "Keep pitching him on his normal day, let him throw his innings. If he gets there and he's healthy, great. But you may have to shut him down before the end of the season."
Manager Terry Collins also weighed in on the topic for the first time following Saturday night's win. He wasn't exactly pleased with how Harvey handled his interview prior to the game.
"I'm probably not at liberty to discuss too much of it, but I talked to him after he talked to you guys, and sometimes they don't say the appropriate things at the right time," Collins said. "It'll certainly be handled in-house -- whatever goes on. We'll make the best decisions moving forward, but right now, I'm not sure what's going to happen."
Has Harvey been saying the right things privately?
"Yeah. I'm not on the social media network, but he's well-aware of what's going on right now," Collins said. "It's just kind of who he is. We'll sit him down tomorrow and kind of revisit the whole thing and get him back on track."
Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.