Matt Harvey arrives at Spring Training
Mets pitcher Matt Harvey arrived at Spring Training on Monday, 10 days ahead of the required reporting date for pitchers and catchers.
Harvey, who had Tommy John surgery in October of 2013, is expected to face live batters for the first time since surgery in the coming days.
On Monday, Harvey was doing PFP (pitchers fielding practice) drills but was not expected to throw from the mound.
In November, the Mets said the while Harvey would be on an innings limit this coming season, the exact innings amount allowed had not yet been determined. Recently, general manager Sandy Alderson said that the innings cap would be flexible and that the expected number would not be shared with the public.
Harvey, during a recent interview with SNY, said that he was surprised – in a good way – at the innings total the Mets might allow him to hit in 2015.
The Mets’ plan is for Harvey to be active from Spring Training through the end of October, and skipping some of his starts and/or giving him some time off during the season will be how they make that happen.
While it’s perhaps not a given that Harvey will immediately return to his pre-injury form, it’s also not outlandish to think that he could be close to as effective.
Many pitchers return from Tommy John surgery in as little as 12 months. Harvey, on the other hand, will be nearly 18 months post-surgery by April, giving him a leg up.
Additionally, while some pitchers take a while to round back into form, an example of a pitcher who picked up right where he left off after undergoing Tommy John surgery is Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg missed most of the 2011 season after the surgery. In 2012, his first full year back, he posted a 3.16 ERA (compared to the 2.91 he put up in his season before surgery) while striking out 11.13 per 9 (compared to 12.18 per 9 before surgery). Strasburg’s K rate in 2012 was markedly higher than the K rate he’s put up over the last two seasons.
The machinations of Matt Harvey will always be of supreme interest, and the days leading up to him facing live hitters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery should be interesting.
Sandy Alderson said last week that the Mets might have Harvey make his first official start of 2015 during the Mets’ home opener on April 13. While that may be the case, expect Harvey to do everything he can to convince them to give him the ball on the road against the Nationals on Opening Day.
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