"The way things are feeling now, I'd say it feels great," Harvey said. "Obviously, being healthy through Spring Training and getting to the season and being healthy through the season is a big plus for me. It's something that I'm looking forward to doing. But as far as the offseason goes, I'm right where I want to be. Everything's feeling great."
The Mets are certainly counting on Harvey, who held a 4-10 record and 4.86 ERA when the Mets shut him down for good on July 4. But it is difficult to gauge how Harvey will respond. Unlike Tommy John surgery, which has become all too routine for pitchers, surgery to remove a rib is relatively rare. The list of players returning from such a procedure is short, and anchored mostly by veterans near the ends of their careers.
Harvey, by contrast, is just 27, a 2013 National League All-Star who finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting that year. The Mets badly need him to return to form, considering he is one of four pitchers in the Mets' projected Opening Day rotation -- along with Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler -- who have not appeared since undergoing surgery.
Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, has said that the right-hander's rib removal freed compressed nerves in his arm, resulting in the painless throwing he is currently experiencing. At this point, Harvey is tossing almost daily, hoping to build up strength in an arm that has gone mostly unused since July. In January, he will ramp up his program before reporting to Port St. Lucie, Fla. in February.
"Obviously, I don't have a crystal ball," Harvey said. "But the way things are feeling now, the way the body feels, I'm feeling great."
Harvey's appearance in Queens was part of a Mets-sponsored shopping spree at Target, where he, Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Nimmo and front-office staffers helped a group of New York City children pick out gifts for their families. The event came one day after the Mets' annual holiday party, which Syndergaard, Nimmo and Jose Reyes attended.
"To just be able to help out in any way, I can't thank the Mets enough that I was able to be a part of this," Nimmo said. "To bring a smile to their faces and see them have fun, and get to have quite a bit of spending cash for their families, for them, that's just so cool."