Matt Harvey Injury Outlook: Mets sensibly slow down rehab pace

Jim McIsaac

With the season already looking like a lost cause, there's no need to rush Harvey back to the mound.

Mets fans will have to wait a little bit longer.

Ace right-hander Matt Harvey, who is seven and a half months along in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, was initially scheduled to throw off a mound on Tuesday but will instead have that step pushed back, according to a report from the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert.

Harvey will go the alternative route of a long-toss program for now, according to Newsday's Marc Carig, but despite the change of pace, there's no physical setback, according to Carig's source. Manager Terry Collins also noted that Harvey is "doing great."

Given the Mets' slow start this season, the decision makes plenty of sense, as there's no real reason to rush Harvey back, especially considering the Mets weren't looking to contend until at least next season anyway. That's when they'll have top talent like right-handers Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero for full seasons, and it wouldn't make sense to jeopardize a formidable rotation that would include those two, along with Harvey and right-hander Zach Wheeler.

Back in mid-May, Harvey told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci that he intends to make five to seven starts this season, and while any type of setback will likely put those hopes to rest given the small probability of that happening initially, there's still a chance we'll see Harvey in action at least a couple times this season. Alternatively, the Mets could decide not to push it at all and just have Harvey sit the season out altogether if they continue to perform poorly.

Harvey, the Mets' top starter and one of the few bright spots on the team last season, last pitched on Aug. 24, finishing the season with a 2.27 ERA across 26 starts. He proved to be one of the best pitchers in the majors, starting in the All-Star Game and finishing third among all starters in ERA and second in WHIP. Whether he returns to similar form following an extended absence remains to be seen, though pitchers often come back just as strong—if not stronger—following Tommy John surgery.

Meanwhile, Syndergaard has been dealing with an injury of his own down at Triple-A Las Vegas. Though the X-rays came back negative, the Mets top prospect will be shut down for about a week after spraining the AC join in his left shoulder on Thursday. The injury is a frustrating one for the 21-year-old, as it occurred during his first start back since he strained the flexor pronator in his right elbow back in late May.

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