It wasn’t what he had in mind, but Matt Harvey did get on Citi Field’s mound in 2014.
Several times during the season Harvey chirped about wanting to return in September, and the Mets are to be commended for not giving in to his ardent posturing.
For a team hurting at the gate and playing better than expected, it could have been tempting to acquiesce to Harvey, who made things difficult for the organization, beginning with initially not wanting surgery.
Not only did Harvey challenge the Mets’ timetable, but also where he’d rehab. Even so, the Mets realized Harvey’s potential and didn’t cave.
Harvey consistently touched the radar gun at 95 mph., in a simulated game this afternoon. It marked the first time he was clocked since last October’s Tommy John surgery. GM Sandy Alderson said Harvey’s workload in spring training would be like any other starter.
“Everything we were trying to accomplish this season has been accomplished,’’ Alderson told reporters today. “From our standpoint, we want to make sure he was physically back to a level that would ensure he wasn’t behind in spring training.
“And then, secondly, he needed to be back to a state mentally where he felt comfortable going into next season and the uncertainty has been eliminated. We feel we’re at that point.’’
Alderson expressed no regret to how the team handled Harvey’s rehab.
“He hasn’t thrown against hitters,’’ Alderson said. “He hasn’t thrown in games. But, given the schedule and the natural healing process and everything else, we felt this was the right place for him to stop and rest and pick it up next season.’’
Because of the potential for strain on the elbow, the only pitch Harvey did not throw today was his slider. Alderson admitted there’s a strong chance Harvey will be on a strict innings count in 2015, the year the Mets have pointed to when they’ll swim in competitive waters.
The Mets have frequently been criticized for their handling of injuries, but not this time.