It is way too early for rave reviews, but the first impression of Matt Harvey have been positive. Harvey threw to hitters – who swung this time – Monday morning and the reaction has been good.
Curtis Granderson especially liked Harvey’s command, telling reporters: “The big thing is he went to both sides of the plate really consistently and accurately and effectively. If he did miss, it was a miss that he wanted to make — not toward the middle of the plate.’’
Harvey is ready, if not anxious.
“Once the hitters start swinging, that’s kind of a sign games are near and the season is coming closer,’’ Harvey said. “For us it’s exciting. Especially being 18 months from a competitive game, it’s a good feeling.’’
This is the last time for Harvey to be scheduled against hitters before Friday’s exhibition game against Detroit.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Harvey is slated to throw 35 pitches over two innings Friday, and will not exceed 40 pitches.
DUDA TO SWING THIS WEEK: First baseman Lucas Duda, bothered by a strained left intercostal muscle, could start hitting off a tee this week.
Manager Terry Collins said if that goes well he could start taking batting practice next week.
UP IN THE AIR: Collins hasn’t decided who’ll be his leadoff hitter, but favors Juan Lagares over Granderson.
Collins wants Lagares’ on-base percentage, which was .321 last season, to be in the .330 to .340 range.
Left field is to be determined between Granderson and Michael Cuddyer. Neither is greatly experience in left field, but both say they are willing to play wherever Collins wants. Cuddyer has three career starts in left, while Granderson has 22. Collins will rotate them for two weeks before making a decision.
“Obviously I don’t have much experience, but at the same time there’s no saying that I can’t come over there and learn,’’ Cuddyer told reporters about playing left field. “I take a lot of pride in being an athlete, not just a right fielder or a first baseman. It’s being a baseball player. And the definition of being a baseball player is going out and playing baseball where the manager puts you. So it’s fine with me.’’
You love to hear that stuff.