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Mets: Matt Harvey throws live batting practice, draws closer to return

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 09: Matt Harvey
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 09: Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey threw live BP to hitters on Tuesday afternoon as he takes the final steps before beginning a rehab assignment

Matt Harvey has begun what is typically the last step before going on a rehab assignment. On Tuesday afternoon, Harvey threw live batting practice to Mets hitters. It’s unclear if Harvey will throw any more rounds before going on rehab for a shoulder injury suffered in June.

Harvey and Noah Syndergaard both resumed throwing programs at the same time, but Harvey has pushed well ahead in the return timetable. At this rate, we could see Harvey back with the team at the end of the month. Harvey said himself that he expects to make a rehab start within a week or two. That timeline would give him all of September to show how he’ll rebound from his latest injury-related setback.

The 28-year old has been down a tumultuous road since a strong 2015 campaign. This season, Harvey is 4-3 with a 5.25 ERA in 13 starts. Most notably, his strikeouts have plummeted while his walk rate has skyrocketed to 4.5 per nine innings. His last appearance was on June 14, when he gave up four runs in four innings against the Cubs.

One of the hot offseason questions will surround Harvey since he’s in his third and final year of arbitration this coming winter, and will be a free agent after the 2018 season.

Buster Olney recently noted that evaluators and agents estimated Harvey would get around $10 million on a one-year deal if the Mets non-tendered him, which is unlikely. Harvey is slated to make less through arbitration.

Harvey’s trade value is about as low as it could be so the Mets would probably be better served for the moment to hang on and see if he can return and be more effective. What was a strength for the Mets has been thinned out with injuries and concerns surrounding most notably Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler.

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The words coming from Harvey are encouraging, but expected. Now it’s a matter of how his shoulder will respond in live game action, which we’ll see in a few weeks barring any setbacks.