Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Specific plan not yet in place for Harvey

Thirteen months post-Tommy John, decisions looming on pitcher's '15 usage
MLB.com

Mets skipper Terry Collins said on Thursday that he fully expects his club to play into October in 2015. If that indeed proves to be the case, the Mets will certainly have some decisions to make regarding right-hander Matt Harvey and his usage in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Even if the Mets fall short of Collins' lofty expectations, the club intends to have some sort of plan in place on how exactly to handle Harvey next year, though the specifics are still in the works.

Mets skipper Terry Collins said on Thursday that he fully expects his club to play into October in 2015. If that indeed proves to be the case, the Mets will certainly have some decisions to make regarding right-hander Matt Harvey and his usage in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Even if the Mets fall short of Collins' lofty expectations, the club intends to have some sort of plan in place on how exactly to handle Harvey next year, though the specifics are still in the works.

Speaking at this week's General Managers Meetings in Phoenix, Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, briefly addressed the potential restrictions his client could face next season. Boras is certainly familiar with the situation given the way the Nationals handled Stephen Strasburg -- another one of Boras' clients -- in 2012.

The Nats ultimately decided to shut down Strasburg, who had undergone Tommy John surgery in September 2010, after 159 1/3 innings -- despite that the Nationals were on the verge of winning the National League East at the time.

Harvey's situation is slightly different, however, as Strasburg underwent his procedure in September 2010 then actually returned towards the end of '11, pitching a combined 44 1/3 innings between the Minors and Majors.

"You have to remember that Matt's surgery time, going into next year, he's going to have a lot more rehab time [than Strasburg]," Boras said. "He's throwing, he's more advanced. As it was with the Nationals, I'm sure we'll discuss it. But in the end it will be Matt's decision and the Mets' decision what amount of innings he'll throw and what course they will take, the number of starts he'll receive."

In Strasburg's case, the Nationals made the decision to shut him down with 24 games remaining -- and a 6 1/2-game lead in the NL East. They went on to win the division before losing in the National League Division Series. As for Strasburg, he's been completely healthy in two seasons since, racking up a 22-20 record to go along with a 3.08 ERA over 64 starts, including 34 this past season.

Collins acknowledged on Thursday that the Mets have had some preliminary discussions about potential restrictions on Harvey, but added that nothing is set in stone at this point.

"There isn't a set number of innings or pitches or anything like that yet," Collins said. "It's something that obviously we'll talk about and monitor, for sure, but we certainly haven't gotten to the point where we're putting numbers and limits on anything."

There are other options besides simply shutting down a pitcher once he reaches a specific plateau, as the Nationals did with Strasburg. One option that is often discussed in these situations is spacing out a pitcher's starts a little bit more at certain points or shutting him down for a few weeks earlier in the season in order to still have him available for the stretch run.

Boras said he hasn't discussed any specific options with either Harvey or the Mets, nor does he intend to at this time. For now, Boras said he is strictly focusing on Harvey's health and rehab.

"The good news is he's 13 months post-surgery now," Boras said. "He's had a really good rehab process to date. By the time Spring Training starts, he will be in a ready position."

That's certainly good news for Collins and the organization, though the Mets skipper knows he will have some difficult decisions -- and conversations -- down the road.

"There will be some discussions, without question, because that's just Matt," Collins said. "There were already some this past year -- he wasn't even on the list and there were still some discussions.

"I do know one thing, though. He's going to want to pitch and he's going to want to win. That attitude alone will make a big difference on our pitching staff."

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Mets, Matt Harvey