WASHINGTON -- Given any number of tools to try to spark struggling starter Matt Harvey to success, the Mets on Wednesday again opted for the battering ram. They will not send Harvey to the Minor Leagues, place him on the disabled list or even skip his next start; instead, the Mets will continue to bull forward with Harvey in the hopes that he can rediscover his previous All-Star form.
Harvey will make his next start as scheduled Monday against the White Sox, the Mets announced, after he gave up 14 runs (11 earned) over 7 2/3 innings in his last two outings against the Nationals.
"This guy's too big a piece to write him off, to flip him to the bullpen," manager Terry Collins said. "This is the big leagues. So we're going to certainly go about it that way."
Five minutes after Harvey reported to Nationals Park on Wednesday alongside his teammates, Collins called him into his office. Collins had already spoken at length with both pitching coach Dan Warthen and assistant general manager John Ricco, and once again needed only to hear that Harvey was on board with continuing to start. Once Harvey gave his affirmation, the meeting adjourned.
"It's been an ongoing discussion about Matt," Ricco said. "The theme has been, 'How do we get him back to being the guy that was dominant, that's helped us win so many games?' So there's been a lot of discussion, and it's a day-by-day, start-by-start process. We're talking about a lot of different options. But I think at the end of the day, again, the theme is: 'How do we get him back to being the Matt Harvey we know he can be?'"
For Harvey, finding that solution has not been easy. The Mets continue to dismiss long-term fatigue as an explanation for his struggles, in the sense that they don't believe last year's career-high 216 innings coming off Tommy John surgery are affecting him now. They do, however, believe Harvey's heavy workload between starts, including a semi-secret simulated game on Citi Field's main mound over the weekend, may have contributed to his velocity drop from the early to middle innings Tuesday.
To that end, the Mets will not work Harvey quite so hard this weekend, believing he is already sharp enough to succeed, anyway. Because Harvey is healthy, and appears not far removed from his old self in their eyes, Collins said the Mets did not seriously consider a Minor League demotion or trip to the DL.
"I am convinced he's healthy," Collins said. "His arm's fine. He feels fine. So I said, 'Listen, what we've got to get away from is the woe is me. We've got to get back to who you are.'"
Harvey, who will carry a 6.08 ERA into his next start, declined again to discuss his issues publicly on Wednesday morning. Collins hopes his starter will do so in time, but for now is more concerned with Harvey's overall well-being. In discussing the situation, Collins harkened back to Harvey's first big league callup in 2012, when he walked into the manager's office and told Collins he not only wanted to stay in the big leagues, but also wanted to be the game's best pitcher.
"That," Collins said, "is the guy we're trying to get back."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.