NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Matt Harvey isn’t satisfied with simply returning ahead of schedule from Tommy John surgery.
The New York Mets ace wants to make a half-dozen starts before the end of the season, which many — check that, nearly everybody — wrote off when he had the reconstructive elbow procedure on Oct. 22.
“Of course, I won’t do it unless I’m cleared to do it, but I want to pitch before the year ends,” Harvey recently told Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated. “I want to make five, six, seven starts this year. I asked (the training staff), ‘If I want to come back in August, when do I need to start throwing off a mound?’ They said June 10. So that’s what we have penciled in right now. That’s the plan.”
Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts last season before being shut down with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. His hot start in 2013 earned him the starting nod for the National League in the All-Star Game at Citi Field.
MLB has seen an alarming rash of elbow tears requiring Tommy John surgery, which can claim around a year or more for recovery.
“I just want the peace of mind,” Harvey told SI. “I want to go back out there and know I still have the stuff to strike out major league hitters. And I want to know that when I shut it down at the end of the year, I’m just like everybody else shutting it down. I don’t want to go through all this work and wonder all winter where I am. I want to be just like everybody else when this season ends and the next one starts.”
The 25-year-old said he was feeling “great” and planned to come back at a heftier 240 pounds. He also wants to cut back the intensity of his all-out bullpen sessions.
“It’s funny, but when I was leaner I would have some soreness in my body after I pitched,” Harvey said. “Now, being heavier, I feel great. After I do my work there’s no soreness at all.”
Mets fans are just hoping the big right-hander returns to form, even if it means he doesn’t get his wish.
“I expect to be the same kind of pitcher,” Harvey said. “I expect to throw the same way I have my whole life.”
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