Mets plan to pitch Matt Harvey into playoffs

ByAdam Rubin ESPN logo
Saturday, September 5, 2015

MIAMI -- The New York Mets intend to proceed with their innings plan for Matt Harvey that would allow him to pitch into the postseason, ignoring a stricter cap agent Scott Boras advocated that would lead to a shutdown, assistant general manager John Ricco said Friday.

Harvey has pitched 166 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. The Mets skipped a start on Aug. 23 to conserve innings. They plan to skip another start this month and go to a six-man rotation to further shave Harvey's regular-season innings total.

That plan will give Harvey as many as four more regular-season starts, bringing his regular-season innings total to as much as 190 to 195 innings. Harvey will pitch Tuesday against the Washington Nationals.Harvey also will pitch a "reasonable" innings total in the postseason, provided the Mets qualify, Ricco said.

"We've consulted with Matt all the way through. We will continue to do that," Ricco said. "I don't think anything will change. ... I think we're very comfortable with the fact that we've had a plan. It has involved the doctors all the way through. To this point, they're still fine with that plan. We all think it's a reasonable way to go."

On Friday, Boras portrayed Harvey's innings cap to media outlets as strict at 180. He suggested the Mets' exceeding that total would be in defiance of doctors' mandates and would imperil Harvey's future health.

"It should be the doctor's decision because it is about the well-being of the patient," Boras said. "They are obviously putting the player in peril. That's their decision. That's what they chose to do."

Said Ricco: "I'm not going to question Scott -- what he said. All I know is we're very comfortable with the way we've set this plan out and the process we're following, and it has been in consultation with the medical people all the way through."

Dr. James Andrews, who performed Harvey's Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013, has recommended Harvey throw no more than 180 innings this season. Another expert, Los Angeles Dodgers team doctor Neal ElAttrache, has recommended a cap of 165 to Boras.

"Everyone in the dynamic agreed there are [innings] limits," Boras said, adding that he first contacted the Mets when Harvey reached 140 innings.

Ricco said he is unaware of a doctor ever mandating an innings cap -- only offering recommendations.

Ricco said he has not spoken directly with Andrews or team doctor David Altchek about Harvey's innings cap, but general manager Sandy Alderson has consulted with both experts.

"We have not been given any kind of a hard cap," Ricco said. "They recommend. My experience has been, we work with the doctors, and we certainly listen to what they say, because they're the doctors. It's not my experience that I've ever heard of a doctor mandating a pitching limit."

Harvey was unavailable pregame Friday. He departed Wednesday's start against the Phillies with dehydration, stayed behind in New York and rejoined the team at the series opener in Miami. He declined comment after the game.

"He had some blood work done on him just to make sure it was just dehydration," Ricco said. "He came through fine."

Since spring training, Mets officials unequivocally have suggested that they would manage Harvey's regular-season innings in a prudent manner that would preserve his postseason availability and avoid a situation like the Nationals' 2012 shutdown of Stephen Strasburg, who did not pitch after Sept. 7. Minus Strasburg, the Nationals were bounced in the National League Division Series by the St. Louis Cardinals.

New York enters the weekend with a five-game lead on Washington for first place in the NL East.

The Mets and Boras were aligned two years ago in persuading Harvey to undergo Tommy John surgery at a time when the ace was pondering rehab over the procedure. The team and Boras similarly were on the same page last season when Harvey was eager to return in September, less than 12 months after undergoing the ligament-replacement procedure, and persuaded him to wait until 2015 to rejoin the Mets.

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