After throwing live batting practice to Brandon Nimmo from the Citi Field mound Tuesday afternoon for the first time since being shut down nearly two months ago, Matt Harvey said he likely will make a rehab start “in the next week or so,” and both he and Terry Collins expect Harvey to pitch for the Mets again this season.
“My goal is to get back out there as soon as I can,” Harvey said. “Obviously, health is the … health and performance is the biggest thing, so I’m on track to get back hopefully pretty soon try to get in as many starts as I can towards the end of the year.”
“He’s driven and he wants to get back on that mound, and he’ll push it,” Collins added. “So I think you’ll see him again.”
Harvey, who’s been on the DL since June 15 with a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder, said he threw 25-30 warmup pitches before throwing 25 to Nimmo. He threw full intensity and used all of his pitches.
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“His fastball had good life,” Nimmo said of Harvey. “His changeup was good. His slider was sharp . then it all comes down to location. He located really well, got more comfortable as the bullpen went on. For him, I think he knows what he’s capable of. It’s just kind of getting that feel from taking time off.”
The strength in the 28-year-old’s shoulder, he says, is much better than it was when he last pitched on June 14. “My arm can work the way that it’s supposed to,” Harvey said. “I think the strength program that we did for the back of my shoulder and the scap area, now it’s moving the proper way. I think I was talking to Dan Warthen the other day when I came back from Florida, and I said I was excited because it was finally fun to throw a baseball again. I can kind of do different things with it and feel where my arm was behind.”
Harvey said “it’s kind of impossible to tell” if strength issues in his shoulder following last year’s surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome will arise again, but at the moment he’s trending in the right direction.
“I’ve been seeing the doctors here, and the progression of the size of the shoulder and the strength of the shoulder has definitely gotten to a point where they are very happy with it,” Harvey said. “And I think that comes with being able to continue throwing and do the rehab starts and get back out there and progressively work back to 100 pitches. I think if they didn’t think things were going the right way back there then I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”
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Following his three-game suspension in May for failing to show up to a game, Harvey said he was going to commit to making baseball his top priority. Since then, Collins has been satisfied with how Harvey, who said he’s lost 10-15 pounds, has conducted himself.
“Absolutely,” Collins said. “You guys have seen, he’s got himself in absolute tremendous shape. He has not missed anything that we’ve asked him to do. He’s been there; he’s been around here and he’s been in Florida. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s bound and determined to get back. I think he will be back, I just don’t know when.”
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