Mets Can’t Afford To Let Matt Harvey Rush Rehab

As spring training rapidly approaches, perhaps the New York Mets’ most interesting bid of news this week, was Matt Harvey’s statements he expects to start throwing Feb. 22, a week after pitchers and catchers report.

“They said I should be able to start throwing four months after the surgery, and that’s Feb. 22,’’ Harvey said. “|And I haven’t had any setbacks. I can’t wait. Even if it’s 10 feet, I just want to pick up a ball. As if right now, I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to do that.’’

HARVEY: Needs to not push it

HARVEY: Needs to not push it

The worry about Harvey is he’ll push the envelope. The accepted recovery time for rehab from Tommy John surgery is 12 months, which Harvey said he wants to beat.

Nonetheless, he vows not to push it.

“I completely agree that I shouldn’t come back too soon,’’ Harvey said. “I haven’t touched a baseball yet, so I don’t know how things are going to go once that happens. But if things are still progressing and it shows I’m ready to go and I get cleared, I want to be able to play.’’

There’s the rub.

The dilemma is hypothetical: What will the Mets do if they find themselves in wild-card contention in September? Will they keep him down or let him loose?

Already in his young career Harvey has tried to pitch through, and/or ignore pain. He didn’t say anything after tweaking his back and missed a start. Later, he said nothing about soreness in his forearm, which eventually led to the surgery.

Pitchers must learn to differentiate between pain and injury. Nonetheless, he must be more forthcoming in reporting pain and discomfort to the training staff. He’s not informed or trained enough to make his own diagnosis.

A pitcher’s arm is a fragile and precious thing. Harvey has a bright future and the last thing he needs to do is jeopardize it by being reckless with his health, which can be concluded by his comments about wanting to be able to pitch in September.

Regardless of where the Mets are in the standings or how well they are playing in September, Harvey should not be allowed to pitch this year. There should be no discussion or consideration about it.

The Mets have a reputation of playing fast and loose with injuries – see David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church and Johan Santana, among others – and with their future seemingly on the upswing, don’t blow it now.

Everybody needs to be smart about this, even if it comes down to protecting Harvey from himself.


23 thoughts on “Mets Can’t Afford To Let Matt Harvey Rush Rehab

  1. Santana was allowed to pitch 130 pitches after a shoulder surgery that no pitcher has recovered from. If the Mets are in a WC race in September and Harvey feels he can pitch what do you think happens? Everyone will be on board especially the fans.

  2. All competitive athletes need to distinguish between soreness and pain

    I love his competitiveness. The team needs to look out for him.

    That is their job.

    A star will push the envelope. The manager has to have the stones to take the ball.

    • Dave: Harvey needs to better understand his value and be more open. But, you’re right, Collins needs to be forceful. All you have to do is look back and Santana’s no-hitter. He was never the same after that. The worst offender among recent Met’s managers was by far Jerry Manuel.-JD

  3. Yet when you listen to guys like Tom Seaver, they tell you they would throw 150 pitches & have no pitch count and that because of the lack of attention paid to the amount of pitches thrown, that is why pitchers of that generation didn’t have as many injuries as they do today? Who knows?

    • Pitchers then had plenty injuries but without Tommy John and other modern techniques and modalities, they either pitched effectively but in great pain, or ineffectively and/or great pain leading to early retirement. Back then, prior to free agency and more expansion teams, the competition for jobs and paycheck as well as larger talent pool given fewer teams, was greater forcing injured players to keep their ailments to themselves.

      • Not to long ago pitchers pitched complete games and no hitters.

        Today pitchers have problems getting out of the 5th and are fragile. All the old pitchers comment about the strange practices in today’s game.

        What do they know that the geniuses today don’t? These are pitchers. You would think as competitive athletes they know their bodies and can see the game. The narrative from them and the way the game is taught today is different. Why the disconnect? Why do these guys shake their head at modern training methods? Why does the game only value pitchers who can pitch 95 and above even if they can’t pitch and only throw? I think the game today is populated by mass hysteria. They value hitters who can hit 20 hrs or more but have no clue on how to hit. Players who do not know how to field theirosition. Pitchers who throw hard but can’t pitch. Players who are professionals and don’t know their craft. Why is that?

        • I’ve been around a long time to personally witness the pre-free agency era of 4-man rotations, 300 innings pitched, oodles of complete games, 10-man pitching staffs, low K batters, and the like you mention. Once upon a time 400 innings was perfectly acceptable and batting helmets were viewed as sisified weakness.

          Human nature is such that prior generations typically lament new ways of doing things – in and out of sports. Old school vs. new school, and in this case, pitch counts, innings pitched, upper 90’s fastballs ever commonplace, high K, low BA hitters, heavy bullpen use vs. the way it was finishing what was started. Sandy Koufax retires at age 30 due to arm trouble after Ralph Kiner retires at 32 due to back troubles, phenom David Clyde is done at 24. While I’m not a supporter of the 100 pitch count limit and coddling today’s pitchers, I understand things evolve, that some things make sense from the past and today – and some don’t.

          • LongTimeFan: I’m usually of the old school type. I don’t like coddling pitchers, but I don’t see where the Mets abused him with pitch counts. There’s no way to pinpoint the exact pitch, but the two incidents when Harvey wasn’t totally forthcoming of his arm discomfort are telling.-JD

            • I’m not at all claiming the Mets abused Harvey.

              I was responding to comments by Dave, who feels an old school approach to stretching arms out is the better course. I’m saying that philosophy also led to injuries. I don’t think either approach yields fewer injuries but back then, those sorts of injuries ended or diminished careers sooner given inferior medical technology, greater competition for jobs, lower salaries and reserve clause that kept players tethered to one team in fear of unemployment at the whim of those in charge. Meaning, say nothing, pitch injured, or find new line of work.

              • LongTimeFan1: I don’t know the right way. I do know Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz all had long careers by throwing, throwing and throwing. Everybody reacts differently. As for Harvey, would things be different had he spoken up sooner about pain in his forearm? We’ll never know.-JD

        • Dave: Do you want to hear some obscene pitching numbers? Go to 1968 and look at Bob Gibson (1.12 ERA) and Juan Marichal (29 complete games). There’s more. Luis Tiant and Denny McLain, too.-JD

          • Yes. Last year I looked at some old time pitchers and their numbers. While you may have the oddball freak they were common enough. What are they doing different today than yesterday? The good pitchers of today still pitch deep into the game but rarely finish. That may just be the coach, but if you have a veteran with pride I would expect him to tell his coach to get off the mound so he can pitch.

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  6. Harvey has to be carefully monitored by trainers etc. He has a powerful desire to win. It is a big part of who he is. Maybe he won’t hit the ground running in 2015, but after a few games…WOW!!!

  7. The #1 decision-maker must first be the renown surgeon who operated on Harvey.

    If the surgeon OK’s pitching in the majors in September, it has to then be the Mets medical, training, manager and Front Office who should give thumbs down to any September return other than perhaps an inning or two here and there out of the pen in non-pressure situations, just so Harvey goes into the offseason knowing he’s well, able to get big leaguers out, and determines what he needs to work on during the offseason.

    The possibility of September return even on limited basis, will also make Harvey feel much more part of the team working with a purpose for this season rather than just next. Mets, however, must carefully monitor Harvey whose competitiveness and zeal could be his downfall hence best to keep him out of any games with winning on the line or not allow him to pitch in games until the offseason such as winter ball.

    • LongTimeFan: Yes, the surgeon will carry the most weight. Normally, we’re talking a year and Harvey wants to push it. Don’t think the doc will let him.-JD