Mets shed light on Harvey plan; 200 innings possible
Pitcher to open with '95 percent' regular schedule in return from Tommy John surgery
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Slowly, the mystery of how the Mets plan to handle Matt Harvey is unraveling.
Harvey will operate on a "95 percent" regular schedule this spring as he completes his rehab from Tommy John surgery, according to general manager Sandy Alderson, who spoke for more than 30 minutes Friday on a number of topics. The Mets may hold Harvey back a day or two from certain activities, but no longer than that.
"I don't think we're taking any special precautions," Alderson said. "Any adjustments we see before games start will be modest."
Though Alderson would not divulge specifics of what he described as a soft innings cap for Harvey, he indicated the team would be comfortable allowing him to throw over 200 in total -- including the playoffs, if the Mets make it. The club plans to achieve that in a number of ways, potentially (but not definitely) including holding Harvey back at the start of the season, skipping him strategically throughout the summer and/or giving him an extended rest around the All-Star break.
"It's not that we have an innings limit," Alderson said. "We have a target number in mind that will inform us as we manage day to day, from start to start. It's not an evolving strategy, but I think it's sort of a loose understanding of where we want to be at the end of the season."
Aiding the club is the fact that it did not trade a starting pitcher this winter, as Alderson initially intended. Having six established starters for five spots allows the Mets to use one of them -- most likely Dillon Gee -- as a regular spot starter. Rather than piggyback Gee and Harvey within games, the Mets will keep Gee stretched out enough to perform regularly as a starting pitcher.
For Harvey, Gee's presence could mean the difference between 25 and 30 starts, or between 200 regular-season innings and a couple dozen fewer.
"The plan is for him to pitch throughout the season and be able to pitch during the playoffs," Alderson said.
Among the GM's other insights, speaking in lieu of manager Terry Collins, who is due back in camp Saturday following his father's passing earlier this week:
• Third baseman David Wright is in "outstanding shape, no pain whatsoever," according to a report Alderson received Friday from Wright's orthopedist. Wright missed the final three weeks of last season with left shoulder inflammation, but he did not undergo surgery.
• Reliever Bobby Parnell, who said earlier this week he expects to regain his closer's role when healthy, should start the season on the disabled list. The Mets expect him to return sometime in the latter half of April.
• While Rafael Montero is a candidate for the Opening Day bullpen, fellow Mets pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are not. The Mets want those two, who have no big league experience, to receive more seasoning as starting pitchers in the Minors.