NEW YORK (AP) — The next phase in New York Mets ace Matt Harvey's rehabilitation from elbow reconstruction surgery is being pushed back, and the All-Star right-hander is becoming more realistic about his chances of pitching in the major leagues this year.
Harvey was supposed to throw off a slope for the first time Tuesday but he was told last week while working out at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, that the plan was being scrapped.
"A little surprised," Harvey said before the Mets played the Milwaukee Brewers. "We kind of had that plan written up for quite some time and to hear four or five days before I'm making a milestone is a little disappointing."
New York general manager Sandy Alderson said there is nothing wrong with Harvey. In fact the 25-year-old's recovery might have been going too well.
"I think the realization that as we transition from long tossing to throwing off a slope that we were moving sort of inexorably to a conclusion that we wanted to avoid, which is pitching too soon," Alderson said. "After talking with our doctors it made sense to slow him down a little bit."
In a season in which Tommy John surgery has become a near epidemic — 22 pitchers had the operation so far, according to data provided from STATS via writer Jon Roegele — the Mets are basing their timetable for Harvey's return on a growing amount of data that shows pitchers have more success if they don't return before 11 months from the date of surgery. Harvey had his operation on Oct. 22.