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Harvey says upper-90s velocity will return soon

In meantime, Mets righty relying on solid secondary pitches
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Whether on purpose or by accident, First Data Field's scoreboard radar gun was not operating Friday. Matt Harvey, who admittedly sneaks glances at the board from time to time, had no frame of reference upon which to gauge his fastball.

Perhaps that was for the best for Harvey, who continues to insist he is not focused on velocity in his return from thoracic outlet syndrome. His fastball again resting around 92 mph, according to scouts in attendance, Harvey relied on his other pitches while allowing one run over three innings of the Mets' 7-6 loss to the Astros.

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Whether on purpose or by accident, First Data Field's scoreboard radar gun was not operating Friday. Matt Harvey, who admittedly sneaks glances at the board from time to time, had no frame of reference upon which to gauge his fastball.

Perhaps that was for the best for Harvey, who continues to insist he is not focused on velocity in his return from thoracic outlet syndrome. His fastball again resting around 92 mph, according to scouts in attendance, Harvey relied on his other pitches while allowing one run over three innings of the Mets' 7-6 loss to the Astros.

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"It's nice to go up there and throw 97 to 100 [mph] or whatnot, but you need to figure out how to pitch," Harvey said. "It's been a while since I've faced hitters and been in competition like that, so for me, I think it's only a matter of time."

After his second Grapefruit League start, Harvey insisted again that his old upper-90s velocity will arrive by the end of March. And maybe it will. In the interim, Mets manager Terry Collins says he is also unconcerned, considering the quality of Harvey's secondary pitches and command.

"When this guy was right, even though he had the ability to throw real hard, he was a pitcher," Collins said. "He used his slider. He's got a good curveball. He's got a very good changeup. Even at the velocity he's at right now, he's going to be fine if he locates it."

In addition to recovering from surgery, Harvey is still battling a stiff neck, which he said was "90 percent better" on Friday than in his Grapefruit League debut. The only run Harvey allowed came on a long Reid Brignac homer in the third inning, sullying a stat line that, overall, was far better than what he submitted five days earlier.

"Definitely an improvement from the first one," Harvey said. "I think it's just a matter of time before things click and mechanics click, timing clicks. But I think overall it was definitely a plus."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets, Matt Harvey