WAPPINGER FALLS — Matt Harvey took the first step back to returning to the Mets on Saturday but he still has plenty of work to do.
The right-hander threw 18 pitches — 11 balls and seven strikes — allowing one walk, a hit and a run in just one inning of work in his rehab start with the Brooklyn Cyclones against the Hudson Valley Renegades at Dutchess County Stadium.
It was Harvey’s first time on the mound since he was shut down on June 16 with soreness in his arm, stemming from the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery he had last year.
“It was good,” Harvey said. “Obviously a little rusty but I think that was kind of expected from me going in. I haven’t faced any hitters for two months now but everything feels great. The arm feels great which is what the goal was to come up here.”
Harvey threw mostly fastballs, with his velocity reportedly reaching 93 miles per hour, but the right-hander struggled with his command from the very beginning, walking the first batter on four straight pitches.
“You get a game situation and you’re kind of going off bullpens and … it’s a completely different aspect of the game,” Harvey said. “This is the first rehab start I’ve ever done. I’m just trying to figure out how to go about your business getting work done and getting your arm where you need to be and focusing on getting your rhythm and timing and back.”
Harvey is scheduled to meet with the team in Philadelphia on Sunday where he said he will find out the next step.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen told the Daily News on Saturday that he will likely pitch a side session in three days.
Harvey, who was 4-3 with a 5.25 ERA before landing on the disabled list, will likely need multiple starts before returning to the mound.
“It’s hard to go out there for one inning and know you have one inning to throw and really work on everything,” he said. “But I think that’s exciting for the next time out and kind of stretch things out and concentrate on that.”
While the Mets have fallen out of the playoff picture, it’s still important for the team to get the 28-year-old pitcher healthy.
He last made 20 starts in a season in 2015 and if the team plans to contend next year they will need a healthy and effective Harvey.
“I don’t want to get back unless I’m ready to compete and give the team innings and get back and be healthy,” Harvey said. “It’s a process and I want to get back as quick as I possibly can.”
Despite the challenges he faces on the road back, the fact he is pitching again this season is a win, Warthen said before Harvey took the mound for the Cyclones.
“It’s a big step. A good one,” Warthen said. “Just getting back out there on the mound is a success for him tonight.”
With Kristie Ackert
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