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Matt Harvey Wants to Pitch in 2014, Smart Move for the Mets?

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Hey look, here’s a Matt Harvey story that actually involves baseball and not the New York tabloids. The injured Mets righty was set to miss the entire 2014 season after Tommy John surgery on his torn UCL in October. As you may or may not remember, Harvey marked the six-month anniversary of the surgery with a controversial tweet and promptly deleted his Twitter account.

Harvey spoke with Sports Illustrated‘s Tom Verducci recently and made it sound like he was very bullish about making a couple starts in 2014 to see where his rebuilt elbow stands. If Harvey pitched in August it would be 10 months after surgery — almost two months ahead of the average 11.66 months on the sideline via famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

“Of course, I won’t do it unless I’m cleared to do it,” he said, “but I want to pitch before the year ends. I want to make five, six, seven starts this year. I asked [the training staff], ‘If I want to come back in August, when do I need to start throwing off a mound?’ They said June 10. So that’s what we have penciled in right now. That’s the plan.
“I feel great. I don’t feel any soreness now. The ball is coming out of my hand great.”

Odds are the Mets aren’t going to make the playoffs this year. Harvey told Verducci it’s more about getting a headstart on the 2015 season.

“I just want the peace of mind,” he said. “I want to go back out there and know I still have the stuff to strike out major league hitters. And I want to know that when I shut it down at the end of the year, I’m just like everybody else shutting it down. I don’t want to go through all this work and wonder all winter where I am. I want to be just like everybody else when this season ends and the next one starts.”

After giving it a little thought, Harvey trying to hustle back to the mound might not be the worst idea in the world … if he pitched for any team other than the Mets. Considering this is the same team that accidentally mailed out Sandy Alderson’s credit card info to the team’s media contacts, putting Harvey on the mound 10 months after surgery would be seriously tempting fate. By the same token, Harvey does seem to have the kind of attitude to buck this trend. Harvey says he’s making sure his entire body is in shape — he’s adding weight to get to 220 — before making a serious push to return.

Then again, if history is any guide, when something can go wrong for the Mets, it usually does.

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