Harvey's comeback honored by peers
Right-hander takes home Players Choice NL Comeback Player of the Year Award
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey's successful return from Tommy John surgery continues to earn him accolades throughout the baseball world. On Monday, Harvey received the Players Choice Award for National League Comeback Player of the Year, after missing all of last season recovering from his operation.
"It's unbelievable. I couldn't be more honored," Harvey said on MLB Network. "The most important thing about this, it gives hope to young kids and other players coming back for injury. A huge honor, I can't thank my peers enough."
The award completes a trifecta for Harvey, who previously won Major League Baseball's Comeback Player of the Year Award and The Sporting News' version of the same hardware, and puts him in position to sweep the category with a win in the Esurance MLB Awards -- voting runs through Friday at MLB.com. Presented by the MLB Players Association, the Players Choice Awards are voted on anonymously by players. Winners receive a donation for the charity of their choice.
A finalist alongside Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Cincinnati's Joey Votto, both of whom also battled injuries last season, Harvey won on the strength of his 13-8 record and a 2.71 ERA. Experiencing just one brief down trend in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Harvey also shined with a 2-0 record and a 3.04 ERA during the postseason.
The most significant hiccup of Harvey's season came off the field, when he briefly committed to agent Scott Boras' recommendation of a 180-inning hard limit in his first year back. Amid significant public backlash, Harvey eventually changed his tune, finishing with 216 innings between the season and postseason.
"You want to be a horse and go out there," Harvey said recently. "You look at guys who have thrown 230 innings year after year after year. That's who I've always wanted to be."
Harvey and the Mets credit his success to the fact that he waited until 17 months after surgery to return to competitive game action, as opposed to the 11 months he originally considered.
"Once I decided I wanted to have surgery, all those doubts and thoughts -- and especially negative thoughts -- definitely went out the window," Harvey said. "I knew I was going to go see the best surgeon in the world and have the best staff behind me and training program. From then on, it was kind of a no-doubter that I knew I'd be back."
Though light trade speculation has swirled around Harvey already this offseason, he is under team control for three more seasons and is a strong bet to return to the Mets. He'll anchor an Opening Day rotation that should also include Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.