Alderson To Get Creative In Limiting Ace Right-Hander's Innings Off T.J. Surgery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Matt Harvey may be coming off a long layoff following a very serious injury, but the Mets have no plans to shut him down early in 2015.

General manager Sandy Alderson said as much on Monday night during an interview with WNBC’s Bruce Beck.

“The key for us is figuring out a way to manage his innings this season so that he’s available to us if or when we get to the postseason,” Alderson said.

That almost certainly means the Mets will have their ace right-hander on an innings limit, but will not go the same route as the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg back in 2012. Strasburg entered the season off Tommy John surgery and was shut down in September. The Nationals went on to make the playoffs for the first time in their history, but didn’t have their ace available and were bounced in the NLDS by St. Louis.

Alderson and the Mets have made it clear they intend on making the playoffs next season. It stands to reason they will have their best chance to do so with Harvey taking the ball as often as possible. However, in order to conserve his innings so that he could potentially be a factor in September and then October, he might have to be held back a bit in spring training, have his innings per start shortened early on and then be skipped at times during the summer.

The Mets went 79-83 in 2014, their sixth straight losing season. But expectations have been ramped up heading into next season due to what is largely considered to be a rotation filled with some of the best young arms in the game, including NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, and the emergence of position players like Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares. They will complement proven veterans like David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson and recent free-agent signing Michael Cuddyer.

The Mets also hope to address their shortstop situation in the coming days and weeks.

Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA in 26 starts during the 2013 season, his first full season in the majors. The 25-year-old right-hander was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow in late August of that season and has been on the road back to the majors since.

Harvey has been impatient at times during his rehabilitation, but ultimately has followed the club’s timetable for his return. He recently told manager Terry Collins he expected the Mets to do big things in 2015.

“Harv came into the dugout in the ninth inning and told me we’re going to do it next year,” Collins told reporters in his postgame press conference following the regular season finale. “He doesn’t lie to me.”

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