NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Think he’s itching to get back?
Mets ace Matt Harvey is already fed up with rehab. He’s not planning on doing anything radical to try to defy conventional wisdom on how long his recovery from Tommy John surgery should take, but he is planning to get out on a mound soon.
“They said I should be able to start throwing four months after the surgery, and that’s Feb. 22,” Harvey recently told the NY Post. “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 of right now, I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
The 24-year-old right-hander appeared on WFAN host Mike Francesa’s show at Mohegan Sun on Friday evening, saying it took him a while to accept the fact that surgery was his best option.
“It was tough. I never thought it would happen. As a pitcher, you don’t want it to happen. I wasn’t having the same symptoms that you hear other guys have, no sharp soothing pains. My forearm was a little tight,” Harvey told Francesa. “It was a tough process to come to grips with, but after waking up enough times worrying if today is the day or tomorrow is the day to have surgery, I had just had enough.”
It usually takes on average a full year for a major league pitcher to recover from serious elbow surgery, but Harvey has said in the past that he’d like to make his 2014 debut late in the season, perhaps in September.
“I completely agree that I shouldn’t come back too soon,” Harvey told the Post. “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.”
Harvey told Francesa if he can make a few starts for the Mets late in the season it will go along way toward repairing his psyche.
“I think it’s all going to be how I feel and how it’s going. If they say it’s a 12-month process, I want to beat that. It’s important for me to throw a couple of innings and then have a normal offseason knowing I was able to get a few guys out,” Harvey said.
Harvey took the majors by storm in 2013. Though his record was only 9-5, his statistics were eye-popping and he was often the victim of a lack of run support. Harvey pitched to a 2.27 ERA in 26 starts, allowing just 135 hits while striking out 191 in 178 1/3 innings.
His season ended following a 3-0 loss to Detroit on Aug. 24. He pitched 6 2-3 innings that day, allowing 13 hits. Two days later he was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar-collateral ligament in his right elbow and was placed on the disabled list.
The Mets have since replaced Harvey in the rotation with Bartolo Colon, signing the veteran right-hander to a two-year contract. Earlier this week, fellow phenom Zack Wheeler said he plans on picking up Harvey’s torch and becoming the Mets’ ace.
Harvey said he wants to spend as much time with his teammates as possible, but said that might be difficult to do once his competitive juices start flowing and he’s not allowed to take the hill every fifth day.
“The true test will be once I see everyone else playing, tossing off a mound. When that happens I might have to go back inside,” he told Francesa. “If I can be with the guys, learn the hitters, find out how they are getting guys out, I think that will be very important for me.”
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