For the first time since being diagnosed with a torn UCL last August, Matt Harvey has returned to a pitcher’s mound. The 25 year old Mets ace threw from the bullpen mound in Citi Field this afternoon, marking a significant milestone in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Harvey, who had initially tried to avoid the surgery all together and has shown a dogged determination to pitch in the big leagues as soon as possible, told reporters in May that he planned on pitching from a mound in June. The front office, though, fearful of the potential for him to re-injure his elbow or suffer some setback, held him off. On June 20, Harvey said he had no idea when he would throw off a mound, the next day he said it would be, in the next month. On July 15th, Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reported that the Mets told Harvey he would have to wait until after July.
The next step in Harvey’s recovery is to pitch in game situations, but it remains to be seen when that will occur. Harvey has indicated his desire to make five to seven starts for the Mets down the stretch this season, but Sandy Alderson has preached patience. 11 months, Alderson has stated, is the minimum Harvey would have to wait from the day the surgery took place – october 22, 2013 – before starting again. Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, has been even more conservative, arguing that a pitcher should undergo 14 to 16 months of rehab before returning.
The Mets’ timetable would put Harvey in line to pitch in the fall instructional league, which takes place in Florida from late September to early October.