PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida — New York Mets ace Matt Harvey has arrived at spring training, nearly two weeks ahead of the team's first official workout, and says he's willing to accept whatever innings limits the team chooses as he returns from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.
Harvey participated in fielding practice Monday but didn't throw off a mound. He hasn't pitched in a game since Aug. 24, 2013, and is recovering from Tommy John surgery that Oct. 22. New York could delay the start of Harvey's season, give him extra days off between starts or a mandate a break during the season in an effort to limit his innings.
"Whatever they decide, obviously that's what we're going to go with, and we'll see what happens throughout spring training," he said. "My goal is to be ready for opening day."
He understands that he may not be on the opening day roster, but just wants to be healthy when the season starts.
"As of now I feel great and right where I want to be to be ready for that," Harvey said.
Harvey threw off a mound last fall, took a break, then resumed in December in Newport Beach, California, at the training facility of his agent, Scott Boras. Harvey threw fastballs and changeups in bullpen sessions and some curveballs off flat ground.
"I threw two bullpens out there and I let a few go — just to see where I'm at, and I was pretty surprised with the outcome and how good things feel," Harvey said. "I'm pretty on-point with my accuracy right now, which is surprising."
Harvey had planned to arrive well before the first official workout for pitchers and catchers Feb. 21. Coming off six straight seasons with losing records, New York is counting on Harvey to head a rotation that includes Zack Wheeler, NL Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom, Jonathon Niese and either Bartolo Colon or Dillon Gee.
Harvey says the elbow should not hold him back.
"It's never going to go away that I have a scar there, but as far as moving forward, I think not thinking about it and moving forward is the most important thing," he said. "When I throw and work out, there's no hesitations."