Matt Harvey injury: Mets ace eyeing August return

Ezra Shaw

The Mets' star is hoping to make five to seven starts in the majors before the season is out.

Matt Harvey sure is ambitious. The Mets' right-hander sparked up a bit of a controversy Tuesday by reportedly telling Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci that he is aiming for an August return, and would like to make five to seven starts this season. The 25-year-old is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Harvey's prognosis is quite optimistic, considering the surgery generally requires a recovery time of 12-18 months, though pitchers have been coming back sooner and sooner in recent years. Harvey tore his UCL on August 26th of last year, and tried to rehab the injury before succumbing to surgery on October 22nd.

An August return would place him right around the 10-month mark. Verducci points out that among those early returners was Edinson Volquez, who in 2010, was rushed to the majors just 11 months after surgery by the Reds, and has been notably worse since then (of course, this could simply be due to natural regression or a performance dropoff that would've still happened had he had a normal recovery time-frame).

Harvey did iterate that he would like to make some changes when he does return, including increased body mass and the tempering of his infamous all-out bullpen sessions.

Said Harvey, "I used to throw in the bullpen like it was a game. Really, it would be just like I was facing a hitter trying to strike him out: fastball on the corner, curveball for a strike, bounce a curveball to see if I can get a chase, and then at 1-and-2 ... here it comes! My best fastball upstairs, 97-98 [mph]. I'd be breaking off hard sliders. I realize I don't need to do that now. My fastball is going to be there. My slider is going to be there. I don't need to throw it with max effort in between starts to keep it."

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Harvey is scheduled to begin throwing off a mound on June 10th.

Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson didn't exactly share Harvey's sentiments when it came to an early return, telling's Adam Rubin that the club doesn't want to put Harvey in the position to potentially have a setback. He also said that he still believes the 12-month timetable to be advisable.To be fair, Harvey did say the following: "I won't do it unless I'm cleared to do it."

Logically, it probably makes more sense for Harvey to benefit from a full-recovery, enabling him to come back at full-strength in 2015, when the Mets could be more than just a ~.500 (or worse) team.

Harvey was fantastic in his first full season last year. In 178.1 innings, the former first round pick put up a 2.27 ERA (157 ERA+), 9.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 0.4 HR/9, 6.1 WAR, and league-leading 2.01 FIP, earning his first career All-Star nod and a fourth place finish in NL Cy Young voting.

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