Matt Harvey says, 'I will be there,' if Mets make playoffs

ByAdam Rubin via ESPN logo
Monday, September 7, 2015

MIAMI -- New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey pledged not to abandon his team if it qualifies for the postseason.

Despite forceful pronouncements by agent Scott Boras on Friday that the Mets would imperil Harvey's health by having him exceed 180 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Harvey finally declared Sunday that he will pitch if the Mets make the playoffs.

"As an athlete, when your surgeon explains to you the risks of exceeding a certain number of innings, it can be alarming," Harvey wrote on The Players' Tribune website. "You listen. 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. But there has never been a doubt in my mind: I will pitch in the playoffs. I will be healthy, active and ready to go. I am communicating with my agent, my doctor, [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] and the entire Mets organization. I can assure everyone that we're all on the same page.

"Together, we are coming up with a plan to reach an innings limit during the season," he said. "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. I understand the risks. I am also fully aware of the opportunity the Mets have this postseason. Winning the division and getting to the playoffs is our goal. Once we are there, I will be there."

Harvey currently sits at 166 1/3 innings. The Mets had planned to utilize a six-man rotation the remainder of the regular season and skip Harvey once more, giving him four more regular-season starts. Harvey's pronouncement suggests he could make fewer starts during the remainder of the regular season.

He is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday at Washington, a start that manager Terry Collins called "the biggest of his career." Collins also said he plans to talk to Harvey 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 fueled the hullabaloo over his innings on Saturday, when he refused to assure Mets fans he would pitch in the playoffs. He would not even say the organization had treated him carefully over the past two years as he worked back from Tommy John surgery.

That sparked plenty of social-media backlash, including from Mets great Dwight Gooden.

Gooden tweeted earlier Sunday: "Can't believe what I'm hearing. I couldn't imagine me or Ron Darling['s] agent would even think about taking the ball from us come crunch time. I would expect Matt being the ace to come out and say he's pitching if they make the playoffs, and moving forward he wants the ball every fifth day here on out as long as he's feeling good."

Collins expressed concern Sunday about Harvey's mental state and how he will handle the situation.

"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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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