Sep 6, 2015 8:21 PM
Harvey changes speeds, says he would pitch in playoffs
The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) Matt Harvey now insists he will pitch in the playoffs if the New York Mets get there.
After a two-day uproar over his innings limit this year, Harvey wrote Sunday on The Players' Tribune website that he would definitely participate in the postseason.
"There has never been a doubt in my mind: I will pitch in the playoffs. I will be healthy, active and ready to go," he wrote.
Harvey said he is communicating with his doctor, agent Scott Boras and the first-place Mets to come up with an innings-limit plan that would make the right-hander available in October.
"I can assure everyone that we're all on the same page," Harvey wrote. "It will be a compromise between the doctors and the Mets organization to get me, and the team, to where we need to be for our postseason run."
The article was posted one day after Harvey indicated he has been advised by his surgeon not to pitch more than 180 innings this season and declined to answer when asked if he is committed to pitching in the playoffs.
The staff ace drew criticism for potentially abandoning his team at the most important time even though the Mets have juggled their rotation and managed his innings in an attempt to ensure he would be available in September and October.
Harvey, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, said he understands the risks of going beyond 180 innings.
"I am also fully aware of the opportunity the Mets have this postseason. Winning the division and getting to the playoffs is our goal," he wrote. "Once we are there, I will be there."
New York holds a four-game lead in the NL East over the Nationals heading into a crucial three-game series between the teams beginning Monday in Washington.
Harvey is scheduled to start Tuesday night. He has thrown 166 1-3 innings this season while compiling a 12-7 record and 2.60 ERA.
"As an athlete, when your surgeon explains to you the risks of exceeding a certain number of innings, it can be alarming. You listen," Harvey wrote. "I love to play baseball and I love winning even more. I would not give that up for anything. I also know I want to be able to play and win for a long time."
The Players' Tribune is a website founded by former Yankees star Derek Jeter that gives professional athletes a platform.
The article entitled, "I Will Pitch in the Playoffs" was posted under the name Matt Harvey, New York City Bureau Chief.
"You've heard about the 180-185 innings cap. That seems to be the number that will allow me to pitch into the postseason. Regardless of those numbers, I hope everyone knows: I have always wanted to play. I have always wanted to pitch every single chance I get," Harvey wrote.
"Especially in the playoffs."
Before the team's 4-3 loss at Miami on Sunday, Mets manager Terry Collins said he wants Harvey to focus on his next start in Washington.
Collins referred to Harvey's upcoming outing against the Nationals as "the biggest of his career." He also said he plans to talk to Harvey about his innings soon.
"I'm going to have a conversation with him," Collins said. "I always feel that it's not what you say, it's what you do. Go pitch good and the rest of it will take care of itself."
Harvey was dehydrated after his most recent start, a win on Wednesday over the Phillies. But he said Saturday he is healthy, and Collins said the same on Sunday.
"He finally got some fluids to get his system back in shape, so he feels good this morning," Collins said.
Harvey did not talk to reporters prior to the series finale in Miami. But he did throw a side session to get ready for the Nationals.
Despite the good news on the health front, Collins remains concerned about Harvey's mental state.
"I think it's a challenge for him," Collins said. "This guy's a young star player who has all of a sudden hit something he hasn't had to deal with before.
"The biggest statement he can make is to go pitch his butt off on Tuesday. That in itself will speak volumes."
Collins also said he wants the rest of his players to focus on getting ready to play themselves, but he fears the distraction of Harvey's uncertain situation could linger.
"No matter what you say, the players think about (the distractions)," Collins said. "Here's an issue, here's a story that's bigger than what's going on and all of a sudden you are going, 'Oh wow. We may not have Matt Harvey, we may not have Matt Harvey.'"