Feb 09

Harvey Arrives In Camp; Says All The Right Things

Matt Harvey didn’t want to see Port St. Lucie last summer during his rehab program, but now he couldn’t be happier to see the place … and answer all those questions.

Harvey reported to spring training ten days ahead of the Mets’ reporting date and was clearly anxious to put last year behind him, telling reporters today he’s excited and on schedule.

HARVEY: See you in the spring. (MLB)

HARVEY: See you in the spring. (MLB)

“I’m healthy. I’m right where I need to be, and I’m excited about getting started,’’ Harvey said this afternoon. “The big test will be once hitters get in there and facing them. I’ve been throwing [bullpen sessions], and everything is right where I want it to be. It’s an exciting spring training for me.’’

Last year, Harvey wanted to rehab in New York and not Florida, and also pushed the Mets at every turn about wanting to pitch at the end of the 2014 season.

He expressed no regrets today about how he was handled.

“Looking back on it, I think everybody made the right decision,’’ Harvey said. “I’m in a good place right now.’’

Call it an olive branch. It’s the first day and everybody is optimistic and in a good mood. No need for him to dredge up bad feelings. However, there are details to be ironed out and we’ll eventually see how harmonious things are between Harvey and the Mets.

GM Sandy Alderson is on record as saying Harvey will work with a to-be-determined innings ceiling. As of now, it appears he won’t be the Opening Day starter, but could start the home opener. That’s one missed start, but only a beginning. Will the Mets place him on the disabled list at midseason? Will they limit him to seven innings each start? Will they skip him once a month? Will he even be ready to start the season?

It would be great to have all these answers now, and hopefully this will be determined – and Harvey on board with everything – before the Mets break camp.

As for now, Harvey is saying all the right things.

“My goal is to be ready for Opening Day, regardless of what is decided,’’ Harvey said. “We haven’t really discussed anything. I don’t think anything’s set in stone.’’

The concept of an innings limit became popular in 2012 when Washington shut down Stephen Strasburg in September in his first season following Tommy John surgery and subsequently missed the playoffs. Now, it is in vogue.

Of course, right now it is premature to suggest the playoffs are even in the cards for the Mets, but this much is for certain, there will be no October for them if Harvey is re-injured.

Feb 08

Anticipation Growing For Mets’ Harvey

The circus that will soon be the New York Mets’ spring training is days away when Matt Harvey will roll into Port St. Lucie. Then the questions will start, and won’t likely stop any time soon,

How’s your arm feel? When will you throw? Will you be ready for Opening Day? What’s your innings limit this season? How’s your arm feel?

Harvey will be asked about his arm before and after every start. He’ll also be asked how he felt about missing all of last season, and whether he should have been allowed to pitch.

While pitchers-and-catchers report next week, Harvey is expected to arrive early.

“There’s always that question mark,’’ Jonathon Niese, who is already in Port St. Lucie, told reporters. “I know he works his tail off and I know he’ll be ready. I don’t think there’s anybody who wants it more than he does.’’

That is, unless you discount every Mets’ fan who anguished over this team over the past decade.

Harvey spent much of his offseason working out at Citi Field and also training at the compound run by his agent, Scott Boras.

There’s a growing excitement surrounding this Mets’ team and Harvey is a big part of the anticipation. He was the talk of the town two summers ago, and spent a lot of time in the news last year, often complaining about wanting to pitch despite the Mets’ objections.

He’s again the talk of the Mets, and the organization and its fans can’t be any more excited.


Jan 10

Mets’ Fan Takes On Ownership

Gary Palumbo hears the critics, but doesn’t care.

“But, you’re just a fan,’’ they say. “Fans can’t do anything against the owners that would matter.’’

Maybe not, but their voices can be heard.

“That’s one of the most infuriating comments,’’ said the long-time Mets’ fan, now a 39-year-old software implementation specialist, who grew up in Fairfield, Ct., and now lives in New Hampshire.

“I can’t see myself sitting on my hands and doing nothing. I would choose anytime to do something and fail rather than do nothing.’’

Palumbo is the driving force behind the billboard Mets’ fans, frustrated at the club’s ownership, will see beginning April 6 for a month outside Citi Field on Roosevelt Avenue. There will be two billboards, including one greeting those riders coming off the Seven Line subway.

The billboard will come off as a help-wanted ad, seeking: “Ownership committed to winning. Apply at Citi Field.’’

Speaking in a phone interview this afternoon, Palumbo said his intent isn’t to get the Wilpons to sell the team – although he indicated that would be ideal – but for them to realize Mets’ fans aren’t happy with the job they’ve done and are angry for promises not kept.

“Right now, the time is right,’’ said Palumbo. “They asked us to wait for five years so they could get their house in order and once the kids were ready to go. They didn’t fulfill their end of the bargain. They just want to build their shopping mall and condos.’’

That’s long been a popular rap against Mets’ ownership; that they are more interested in building up the area now populated by chop shops than putting together a winning team.

Ironically, the driving force for Palumbo to get the funding to come up with the $4,500 needed to pay for the billboard were the words of former Met Pedro Martinez, who was voted into the Hall the Fame this week.

Speaking in a conference call Tuesday, Martinez said Yankees’ fans are more demanding and Mets’ fans are “willing to settle.’’

That morning Palumbo was $1,362 shy, but easily passed that by midnight. Palumbo has more than $6,000 in pledges and donations and is contemplating increasing how long the billboard will be posted and even paying for a billboard in Port St. Lucie.

None of this might have happened had he not seen a game in 1985 with his cousin. The next, on Old Timers Day at Shea Stadium, he saw Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry hit back-to-back homers, “and was sucked in.’’

But, he won’t be suckered.

“I know A couple of pissed off fans aren’t going to make a couple of billionaires sell the team,’’ Palumbo said. “I’m tired of them pretending they are the Kansas City Royals. My main goal is to elevate the conversation that we are not satisfied with direction of how ownership is operating this team.’’

Dec 23

Why Rush To Judgment On Parnell?

Among the things I find puzzling with manager Terry Collins is his propensity for making announcements without all the facts. Most recently, he said Bobby Parnell will be next season’s closer, this despite not pitching last season and nobody knowing for sure his physical status.

With Parnell shelved, Jenrry Mejia took over as closer and saved 28 games. Incidentally, Parnell’s career high was 22 saves in 2013.

So, the Mets have two capable closers, and at times last year used Jeurys Familia and Vic Black in that role. So, what’s the hurry to make an announcement before the Jets fire Rex Ryan?

We are a week shy of three months before spring training and have no idea what to expect from Parnell. What’s wrong with going to Port St. Lucie with it open between Parnell and Mejia? (Black and Familia, considering their limited experience should go in with set-up roles.)

What I don’t want is to give the job to Parnell under the assumption he’s physically ready, then dealing Mejia. What I also don’t want is for Collins to go with a closer-by-committee, which rarely works.


Dec 16

Trade Of Gee Won’t Happen Soon

Speaking today at the Mets’ holiday party, GM Sandy Alderson said not to look for anything involving Dillon Gee soon.

“I’d say activity will pick up significantly in January across the board,’’ Alderson said. “That’s probably the likely time frame for us as well.’’

Given that, don’t be surprised if he’s with the team in Port St. Lucie. I wouldn’t even be shocked to see him on the Opening Day roster.

A lifetime 40-34 pitcher with a $5 million contract, and with the Mets making it clear they want to trade him ahead of Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon, his value isn’t that high. And, with the free-agent market still heavy, teams will look there before trading.

Alderson said the Mets are unlikely to bid on South Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, which means there’s a high probability of Opening Day job going to Wilmer Flores.