The New York Mets announced Thursday that Matt Harvey will be on the mound for Opening Day when they face off with the Kansas City Royals in a World Series rematch April 3.

The Mets confirmed the selection on their official Twitter feed.

Mike Puma of the New York Post passed along comments from Harvey about getting the opportunity to lead the reigning National League champions into action:

It’s a huge honor. Looking around the locker room, looking around this corner, obviously, [manager] Terry [Collins] could have announced anybody, so for me getting the nod, it’s a huge honor. It’s all about how we start and come out, and I definitely feel a year after [Tommy John] surgery, I’m definitely 100 percent and happy about the honor and definitely ready for the battle.

Collins added: “The way [Harvey] finished last year, the way he’s throwing the ball right now, Comeback Player of the Year, there’s a lot of things that led up to it. Jake [deGrom] was certainly in consideration, along with everybody.”

The Mets had at least three options to fill the coveted role. Along with Harvey, deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are both coming off strong 2015 seasons of their own.

DeGrom actually put up the best numbers, with a 2.54 ERA and 0.98 WHIP while striking out 205 batters in 191 innings. But Anthony DiComo of noted the starter’s wife is due to give birth sometime around Opening Day, which could have complicated things.

It’s not like there’s a significant drop-off to Harvey, though. The right-hander missed the entire 2014 campaign while recovering from elbow surgery but returned in terrific form. He posted a 2.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 188 strikeouts in 189.1 innings across a career-high 29 starts.

As Collins mentioned, those stats earned him NL Comeback Player of the Year honors, and now he gets to take the ball for the first game of the new season.

New York actually arrived on the championship scene a bit early. The Washington Nationals entered last season as the top choice in the NL East, but the Mets’ young trio of aces and timely hitting allowed them to begin their ascent to title-contender status.

Now, expectations are sky-high as they look to take that final step to capture their first World Series title since 1986. Harvey will attempt to get their 162-game regular-season journey off on the right foot with a strong outing against the Royals in a couple of weeks.


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