Tag: Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey Injury: Updates on Mets Star’s Blood Clots and Return

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was suffering from blood clots and will be off the mound for at least one start. However, he is poised to be ready for Opening Day.

Continue for updates. 

Latest on Harvey’s Playing Status 

Tuesday, March 29

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported that Harvey is probable to get the start on Opening Day against the Kansas City Royals. Adam Rubin of ESPN reported that Harvey could return to the mound on Saturday, but his status is “still up in [the air].”

Harvey Speaks on Blood Clots, Recovery

Tuesday, March 29

Harvey told reporters he will be “completely fine” to pitch against the Royals, adding that the clots were caused by “holding in my urine too long instead of using the restroom.”

The Mets ace also added that he had a bladder infection that prompted the clots but has since been cleared for light activities.

Harvey Has Recovered from Blood Clots

Tuesday, March 29

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News first reported the news, noting the pitcher had clots in his bladder and has since passed them. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com passed along a report from Ed Coleman of WFAN, who noted Harvey’s condition is not considered serious.

Ackert noted Harvey walked into the clubhouse Tuesday looking “tired and pale” after being discharged.

Collins Comments on Harvey’s Injury  

Monday, March 28

The Mets scratched Harvey from Tuesday’s scheduled start, and manager Terry Collins told reporters he’s “hopeful” Harvey will pitch the team’s season opener but that they’re “waiting for medical results.”

“His arm is fine,” Collins said, adding that Harvey’s injury is a “mystery,” per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Harvey Poised to Anchor Mets’ Stellar Rotation

Harvey missed the entire 2014 season after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right (throwing) elbow, but he returned in 2015 to pitch 189.1 innings during the regular season before tossing 26.2 solid innings in the postseason en route to the National League pennant. 

And while Harvey had a minor case of what Collins labeled “dead arm” last May, per Ackert, it proved to be nothing more than a minor hindrance. He finished 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 188 strikeouts.

The Mets have arguably baseball’s most dynamic rotation in Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon, so losing the Dark Knight for a start or two is hardly be a crippling blow. 

With Harvey facing a speedy recovery, it’s the best news possible for a team hoping to return to the World Series.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.

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Matt Harvey Announced as Mets’ Starter for 2016 Opening Day

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 MLB.com 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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Matt Harvey Poised to Put Up Cy Young-Worthy 2016 Season

Even out of context, the numbers were fine. Matt Harvey finished 2015 with the sixth-lowest ERA in the National League (2.71), with a strikeout an inning. He had 11 starts where he didn’t allow an earned run, and three others where he allowed only one.

For a lot of guys, that’s a career year. For Harvey, it was Year 1 after Tommy John surgery, a season filled with questions and restrictions and distractions.

Some of them, for sure, were self-imposed. Some of them will always be there.

But as you start thinking about Harvey and 2016, you begin with the idea that some of those questions have already been answered, and most of those restrictions and some of those distractions will go away.

You realize that Harvey had to make history to do what he did in 2015, that he had to outdo what pitchers normally accomplish in the first year post-Tommy John. Normally, it’s the second year when you see the true pitcher return.

Matt Harvey isn’t normal, but that just means his second year back could be something special.

His 2015 season earned him a trophy as the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year. Now 2016 could well earn him something bigger.

Is it crazy to think Harvey could win the Cy Young? No, it’s not. Not at all.

He finished fourth in the voting in 2013, even though his season ended in August with the elbow injury that would require surgery. He finished far behind winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and at this point, it’s worth noting Kershaw is the guy who will go into 2016 as the Cy Young favorite, as he does every year.

Kershaw has won the award three of the last five years, but he doesn’t win every year. He didn’t win last year, when Jake Arrieta and Zack Greinke finished ahead of him.

This year, it could be Harvey.

He should be stronger than he was in 2015, even with the long season and short winter that comes with going to the World Series. His winter was actually more normal than the one before, because it didn’t come with the final stages of rehab from surgery.

His spring training should be more normal, too, because last spring, Harvey’s starts were each taken as a referendum on whether he could come back strong. I remember making plans to watch his spring debut last year; I couldn’t tell you (and don’t care) when he’ll take the mound in Port St. Lucie next month.

The early reports out of Florida say Harvey looks stronger, which is hardly a surprise.

As good as he looked last year, he did have some of the first-year-back effect, with somewhat reduced velocity and life.

“To me, Harvey had the best year of all of them last year, if only for the fact he didn’t have his electric fastball,” Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post this week. “He didn’t have his slider for a good part of the year. But he learned how to pitch. With that, that second-gear fastball that he has comes into play this year.

“Right now, he looks in great shape,” Warthen added. “That’s special.”

It’s special, because Harvey with top-gear stuff can be the best pitcher in the game. A motivated Harvey with top-gear stuff could be special.

The motivation should be no problem. As memorable as his 2015 season was, it ended with the inning Harvey would rather forget. He talked Mets manager Terry Collins into letting him try to finish Game 5 of the World Series, only to see the Kansas City Royals rally and celebrate their championship at Citi Field.

In the bigger picture, though, that game, and even that inning, are part of why Harvey can be great. He craves the big stage and all that comes with it.

He opened spring training by saying he would consider a contract extension with the Mets, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, but few believe he would bypass the chance to make news and history in free agency. The $150,000 Maserati he showed up in told more about him than anything he said.

He’ll make $4.325 million this year, but he knows there can be much more ahead. Harvey has three more seasons of arbitration to go, but already everything he does comes with one eye on the eventual riches of free agency.

This is a challenging year for the Mets, the first one this group will face with true expectations of winning. The long season and short winter are real issues for a great young pitching staff that carried the team, but also exceeded previous workload highs in 2015.

Many Mets fans weren’t happy when I predicted those issues could be enough to keep this team out of the playoffs entirely. It was a prediction, not a guarantee, just as this is.

But no matter what happen to the rest of the Mets, Matt Harvey is headed for a big year.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Matt Harvey Contract: Latest News and Rumors on Negotiations with Mets

The New York Mets have star pitcher Matt Harvey under contract until 2018, though the team will likely pursue a long-term contract extension in the coming years.

Continue for updates.

Harvey Open to the Possibility of Signing an Extension

Monday, Feb. 15

Harvey hasn’t dismissed the possibility of signing a long-term contract extension with the Mets.

“I think whatever comes up is going to come up,” Harvey said on Monday, per Marc Carig of Newsday. “I think I’ve never shied away from it, I’ve never said I wouldn’t consider it.”

The one roadblock to an extension may be the presence of Scott Boras as Harvey’s agent, as Carig noted, as Boras has a history of taking his clients to free agency and maximizing their earnings rather than having them sign contract extensions.

Harvey, 26, avoided arbitration this season by signing a one-year, $4.325 million deal, per Carig. That number will only go up, especially if Harvey builds on his excellent 2015 campaign, when he went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 188 strikeouts in 189.1 innings pitched after returning from Tommy John surgery.

The future of the Mets is tied to a talented young rotation headlined by Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Keeping that trio intact should be a priority for the Mets as they look to win a World Series in the coming years, though the team’s pitching depth may also serve as a nice backup plan for New York in the future if Harvey’s price is higher than what the team is willing to pay.

Additionally, given Harvey’s return from Tommy John surgery, the team may decide to see if Harvey can offer another dominant, healthy season before even considering a contract extension. For both sides, then, an extension may make sense, but there are also reasons to believe they will approach the situation tactically and patiently.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey Blockbusters Need to Wait Until Next Winter

Jordan Zimmermann busted through the 2015 free-agent logjam Sunday when he inked a five-year pact with the Detroit Tigers. Now, the offseason’s deep pool of pitchers can (and will) flow in his wake.

But there are two ostensibly available arms who should tread water. Or, more accurately, their teams should.

We’re talking about the New York Mets‘ Matt Harvey and the Miami MarlinsJose Fernandez. Neither is due to rock the open market until 2019, but both have been the subject of trade rumors that understandably put the baseball world on high alert.

They’re two of the top young right-handers in the game, after all, bursting with velocity and pure, nasty stuff. And with Fernandez just 23 years old and Harvey 26, both may get better—a wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat thought for opposing hitters.

Yet the Mets could choose to move Harvey from a crowded rotation that features fellow burgeoning studs Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, with Zack Wheeler set to return at some point next season from Tommy John surgery.

New York needs a bat, at least, with free agents Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy possibly about to walk, and Harvey could likely fetch one from a club with holes in its rotation.

As for Fernandez, his name began churning through the rumor mill in earnest on Nov. 17 when SiriusXM host Craig Mish reported there’s “growing sentiment” the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year will be dealt this offseason.

The rumor came with whispers about a growing rift between Fernandez and the Marlins brass, which CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry outlined:

With regard to Fernandez, he’s reportedly already rebuffed one attempt to sign him to a long-term extension, and there’s been hints of tension between Fernandez and the Marlins over a post-Tommy John workload plan. It doesn’t help matters that Fernandez is represented by Scott Boras, and the Marlins’ high command doesn’t much care for the super-agent.

So perhaps the fear that Fernandez isn’t open to signing an extension coupled with some personal animus for his agent has prompted the Marlins to shop their franchise hurler.

“I have heard something,” Fernandez said of the trade scuttlebutt, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. “I’m not paying attention to it at all.”

Perhaps not. But everyone else is, as they are with Harvey. If either player were to be moved, it’d immediately shift the balance of power somewhere.

Again, though, both the Mets and Marlins would be wise to hang on to their rising-star assets, at least for one more year.

The argument is simple, and it centers on supply and demand. Even with Zimmermann off the board, clubs in search of pitching have a buffet of appetizing options.

There’s David Price and Zack Greinke, the Cy Young Award runners-up in each league. After that, you’ve got strong No. 2 and No. 3 candidates like Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake and Wei-Yin Chen plus high-upside reclamation projects like Jeff Samardzija.

Next year’s pitching class, by contrast, is a veritable wasteland after right-hander Stephen Strasburg (himself a subject of persistent trade speculation). Here, compare the lists of MLB’s 2015-16 free agents to the projected 2016-17 crop, per MLB Trade Rumors. Pretty striking disparity, right?

By holding back and making Harvey and Fernandez available next winter, the Mets and Marlins would be able to demand absolutely insane packages of top prospects and big league talent and would almost certainly get it from someone.

The Mets could shore up their offense, and Miami could get, well, whatever it’s looking for at the time. You just never know with the perpetually rebuilding/retooling/floundering Fish.

Of course, there is an inherent risk. Injuries can strike at any time, diminishing value. In fact, they already have struck: Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2013, and Fernandez had the procedure in May 2014.

In a way, though, that’s another argument for pumping the brakes on any trade. Fernandez started just 11 games last year, his first season back from TJ. And while he teased with 79 strikeouts and a 2.92 ERA in 64.2 innings, a full campaign of ace-like dominance would assuage any concerns about his durability.

Speaking of which, Harvey just weathered a controversy about his supposedly doctor-imposed innings limit to toss more than 200 frames between the regular season and playoffs for the NL champion Mets. If he can do it againand replicate or improve upon his 2.71 ERA and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings—he’ll officially have put the Tommy John talk to bed.

Surely, there are many in Mets and Marlins land who don’t want their teams to trade Harvey and Fernandez now or later. These are guys you can build a franchise around, and they’re a joy to watch every fifth day.

But even if you support flipping these young aces, patience is the operative word. There will come a time when a Harvey and/or Fernandez deal makes sense. That time isn’t now.


All statistics and contract information current as of Nov. 30 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Why Now Is Not the Right Time for the Mets to Trade Matt Harvey

When it comes to the New York Mets, two things are very clear:

  1. They have the best starting pitching staff in baseball.
  2. They have absolutely no chance of being able to retain all of their young pitching talent as they start to hit the free-agent market.

Matt Harvey, who will likely see a significant pay raise this year through arbitration, will be the first Mets young gun to hit the free-agent market in 2018, which is precisely why the trade chatter has already begun circulating around the 26-year-old right-hander

Trading Harvey at some point prior to 2018 may very well be a prudent move for the Mets, but that time is not now. There are far too many questions that the Mets need to answer prior to unloading arguably their best starting pitcher.

Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have established themselves as dominant starters, and neither is going anywhere anytime soon. DeGrom will not become an unrestricted free agent until 2020, and Syndergaard will not hit the open market until 2021.

But the Mets need time to further evaluate Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler.

Matz has started only six regular-season games for the Mets and has been susceptible to injuries throughout the early stages of his career.

Wheeler has shown the talent to be a solid major league starter, but he is just 18-16 in 49 career starts. Wheeler also missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery.

Before making any moves with Harvey, the Mets will need to determine whether or not they can depend on Matz and Wheeler to fill out their starting pitching rotation on a long-term basis.

If the Mets do decide to trade Harvey, it will undoubtedly be for an All-Star-quality bat.

But are the Mets truly in need of another big-time bat in their lineup?

This is another question that must be answered before making any decisions with regard to Harvey’s future with the ballclub.

During the 2015 season, the tide clearly began to turn for the Mets after they acquired Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers, along with Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves.

Prior to acquiring Cespedes, the Mets were the worst offensive team in the league. They were last in runs scored (3.5 runs per game) and hitting just .234 as a team.

After the Mets acquired Cespedes on July 31st, they incredibly transformed into the best offensive team in the National League, hitting .275 as a team and averaging 6.5 runs per game.

During that same period of time, the Mets were able to steamroll over a strong Washington Nationals team that had been leading them in the division for the first half of the season.

This was a clear indication that the only thing the Mets had been missing during the first half of the 2015 season was an offensive punch in their lineup. The pitching was there, as was the defense. As soon as the Mets added some power to their lineup, all of the pieces began to fall into place.

It is unlikely that the Mets will be able to re-sign Cespedes, who is now a free agent.

NLCS hero Daniel Murphy, who just turned down the Mets’ one-year $15.8 million qualifying offer, will also more than likely not be wearing a Mets uniform come Opening Day in 2016.

The loss of Cespedes and Murphy will, of course, leave a large hole in the lineup, but do the Mets really need to fill that hole by trading Harvey for an All-Star-caliber bat, or can they fit enough pieces together to fill that offensive void?

Seven-time All-Star David Wright should be back in the lineup from Opening Day in 2016 after missing 124 games this past season due to a back injury. If healthy, Wright is still one of the better-hitting third basemen in the league.

2015 rookie Michael Conforto has also demonstrated that he has the potential to be an above-average, if not All-Star-quality, bat in the lineup as an everyday left fielder. Conforto batted .270 with nine home runs and 26 RBI in just 56 games last season.

The loss of Cespedes and Murphy also frees up enough money for the Mets to go out and sign another decent bat on the free-agent market.

Ben Zobrist and Howie Kendrick are two potential options for the Mets.

Kendrick batted .295 with a .336 OBP last season while playing second base for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Zobrist, a member of the world-champion Kansas City Royals, batted .284 last season with a .364 OBP while playing multiple positions, including second base.

Either player would be a step up from Murphy defensively at second base while providing a bat at least somewhat comparable to Murphy’s in the lineup.

If Wright comes back strong in 2016, Conforto continues to develop and the team adds another decent bat to the lineup through free agency; it may be enough to fill the gap left by Cespedes and Murphy.

However, these are all big “ifs,” which is precisely why now is not the right time to trade Harvey.

If the Mets were to trade Harvey for a big bat this offseason, Matz goes on the DL again early next season and Wheeler is simply not the same pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, the team will be left with a depleted pitching staff, which makes winning a World Series extremely difficult.

And if all of the pieces fall into place on the offensive side, the Mets may not even need to bring in some additional offensive power at the expense of arguably their best starting pitcher in order to make another World Series run in 2016.

Harvey will almost certainly be traded before he hits free agency in 2018. It may even occur prior to the 2016 trade deadline.

But the Mets have far too many questions that need to be answered before sending the Dark Knight out of Gotham.


Unless otherwise specified, all statistics for this article came from baseball-reference.com or mlb.com.

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Scott Boras Comments on Matt Harvey’s Innings Limit Controversy

Just a couple of months after talk of an innings limit for New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey created a media firestorm, his agent, Scott Boras, insisted it was blown out of proportion Wednesday.

Back in September, Boras made it clear that Dr. James Andrews had suggested that Harvey not throw more than 180 innings in 2015 following his return from Tommy John surgery. According to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, he then suggested on SiriusXM that exceeding 180 innings would put Harvey’s health in danger:

You know, I think that this always should be a doctor’s decision because this is about the well-being of the patient. And any club that chooses to defy a surgeon, a medical expert, you know, they are obviously putting the player in peril. That’s their decision, that’s what they feel they choose to do. I know their team doctor has been in conversation with us, and their team doctor suggested that we should follow the surgeon’s advice.

Based on Boras’ most recent comments, however, he believes the Mets ultimately made the right decision with regard to how they handled their 26-year-old ace, per Ackert:

I think there was a misunderstanding. Matt never, ever said anything about not throwing in the playoffs. He was always going to throw in the playoffs and our plan included him throwing in the playoffs. We were all baseball players, we know you pitch in the playoff. The Mets came to us and Dr. Andrews with a plan to pitch in the playoffs, it was executed and turned out well.

Harvey ended up throwing a total of 216 innings for the National League champion Mets, including his work in the postseason, which was the most ever by a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin.

The strategy worked out, as Harvey went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in the regular season along with a 3.04 ERA in four playoff spots. 

Knowing that, Boras is now complimentary of the manner in which his client’s situation played out, per Ackert:

The key thing here is once it hit mid-August, everyone knew the Mets had a great opportunity of going to the playoffs and we wanted to structure a plan where he could pitch effectively. Every doctor will tell you that not only will it increase the risk (of re-injury) but his chance of effectiveness once he gets well above 200 innings is going to go way down. For Matt to perform at the level he performed, knowing what he went through, I think the Mets plan in September paid dividends for everybody.

While Harvey was largely excellent in the playoffs, it can be argued that manager Terry Collins tried to squeeze one too many innings out of him, as the decision to keep him in for the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series led to the Kansas City Royals tying and ultimately winning the championship-clinching contest.

It wasn’t an ideal end to Harvey’s season by any means, but the fact that he bounced back so well from Tommy John surgery is an encouraging sign for the Mets in 2016 and beyond.

In addition to that, it is a reminder to Boras and everyone else involved that there is no foolproof way to handle a player when he is coming off a major injury.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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NL Comeback POY Matt Harvey Just Scratching Surface of Return to MLB’s Elite

This was Matt Harvey’s second beginning. 

The right-hander busted into the major leagues and immediately became the ace of the New York Mets as a 23-year-old rookie in 2012 after spending just one full season in the minors. That was the first beginning—Harvey’s breakout into the realm of top-flight starters.

But after 2013, his first full MLB campaign, solidified him as one of Major League Baseball’s true aces, Tommy John surgery hit and buried Harvey for all of 2014, leaving questions about his ace-hood entering last spring.

Harvey answered just about all of them, sans late-season inquiries about his innings limit that ended up as back-page drama for the New York tabloids. And on Thursday, the 30 beat writers for MLB.com awarded the now-26-year-old the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award after he finished with a 2.71 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 189.1 regular-season innings. Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder won the honor in the American League.

Harvey didn’t need the award as validation for his success, but now there are no lingering doubts about his status as a bona fide ace even after he missed a year because of his significant elbow injury.

Harvey had his struggles this season as the Mets attempted to tamp down his innings from the outset. Three times he allowed seven runs in a 2015 outing. But he also showed more than just the occasional flash of brilliance by shutting out his opponent nine times—though he was never allowed to throw a complete game because of those innings limitations.

Harvey also had his share of controversy this year. In late August his agent, Scott Boras, emailed Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to inform the team that the pitcher was on a hard innings cap—180 maximum—that was not to be overshot. The strict limit was news to the organization, which was already carefully monitoring Harvey’s pitch counts and innings anyway.

Harvey did not help matters by refusing to take a definitive side in the days after the controversy broke. Instead, he issued veiled comments that seemed to side with his agent, potentially leaving the team down one of its aces as the postseason approached.

“As far as being out there, being with my teammates and playing, I’m never going to want to stop, but as far as the surgeon and my agent having my back and kind of looking out for the best of my career, they’re obviously speaking their minds about it,” Harvey told reporters on Sept. 5, a month before the Mets started their playoff run to the World Series.

Those comments and Harvey’s refusal to come out and say he would pitch for the Mets in the postseason regardless of where his innings total stood led to this epic New York Daily News front page:

Harvey ultimately pitched without hard limits in the postseason and allowed nine earned runs in four starts (3.04 ERA in 26.2 innings). Those turns brought his total innings to 216, the most in major league history for a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

“As a starting pitcher and being a younger guy, I think getting to that 200-innings limit is something you always look for,” Harvey told reporters a day before he started Game 5 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. “You kind of want to be a horse and go out there, and you look at guys who have thrown 230 innings year after year after year, that’s kind of somebody who I’ve always wanted to be.”

Harvey ultimately pitched eight-plus innings and allowed two runs in the Mets loss, which clinched the World Series for the Royals. But he had gone eight shutout innings before talking manager Terry Collins into letting him pitch the ninth, something Collins had not allowed him to do since April and rightfully drew criticism for afterward.

Regardless, Harvey proved he was back.

He proved he would pitch for his team with the season on the line regardless of the tax on his surgically repaired elbow. He proved he was still an ace even with a missing season on his resume, and that going forward he is capable of leading the Mets’ ridiculously talented rotation.

The injury is now in Harvey’s past. So is the crazy controversy sparked by his agent and, for a time, facilitated by himself. And unless something completely unexpected happens in his future, he is no longer easy fodder for malicious back and front pages of the New York papers.

For the Dark Knight, the future seems bright.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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Prince Fielder, Matt Harvey Win MLB’s Comeback Player of the Year Awards

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder and New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey were named the Comeback Players of the Year for 2015.

Fielder played in just 42 games in 2014 and showed a surprising lack of power, with just three home runs. His season came to a close in May when he underwent neck surgery.

Fielder admitted in September that he wasn’t sure such a strong bounce-back campaign, which included a .378 on-base percentage and 23 homers in 158 games, was possible, as noted by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.

“There’s doubts,” Fielder said. “You have neck surgery, you don’t know where you’re at. You haven’t played in a year or so, you don’t know where you’re going to be.”

His return to form helped the Rangers finish third in runs scored.

Harvey came back from Tommy John surgery, which forced him to miss the entire 2014 season, and showcased the same electric stuff he had before the arm injury. He went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 29 starts. He also struck out 188 batters in 189.1 innings.

Although the Mets did skip some of his starts in an effort to reduce the burden in his first season back, Harvey still set a new record in terms of workload, per Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:

His return, paired with the presence of fellow budding stars Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, helped New York finish fourth in team ERA. He also made four playoff starts during the team’s run to the World Series, posting a 2-0 record and a 3.04 ERA.

Both award winners have a chance to carry that success into 2016. Fielder has moved almost exclusively into the designated hitter role, rather than playing first base, which takes away the downside of his lackluster defense and allows him to focus on hitting.

The fact that Harvey handled a lot of innings in his return without any major setbacks bodes well. Now he gets the offseason to rest and recover normally, which should set him up to contend for the NL Cy Young Award next year.


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Noah Syndergaard Breathes New Life into Mets with Tough Game 3 Win

In order to keep breathing, the New York Mets needed Noah Syndergaard.

In about the worst possible way imaginable before the very real threat of elimination would set in, the Mets needed Noah Syndergaard.

So, the 23-year-old fireballer with all of 150 major league innings to his name and a baby face peeking from his flowing hair gave the guys from Queens what they needed—a pitching performance good enough to win, regardless of what it looked like and no matter what route he took to the eventual destination.

In the face of virtual elimination, with his Mets down two games to none in the best-of-seven World Series, Syndergaard threw six innings, peppered with seven hits and a couple of walks. He allowed three runs—one on a passed ball—struck out six and got nearly as many swings-and-misses in his time (16) as there have been from all other starting pitchers combined in these three games (19). He also retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced before he was done.

When the game ended, the Mets repaid their pitcher with gobs of run support, and they all left Citi Field with a 9-3 victory Friday night, pulling a little closer in this championship series against the Kansas City Royals, who still hold a 2-1 series advantage.

“He delivered,” Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters in his postgame press conference. “He came through exactly how we expected him to.”

Syndergaard did not start out dropping the hammer of Thor on everyone who stepped into the box, though. Early on, there was a twinge of panic. 

After his first pitch flew up and in to Royals leadoff man Alcides Escobar—which many of the Royals did not approve of, though they were met with defiance—Syndergaard gave up a double and single to Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain, respectively, and Zobrist scored on a fielder’s choice for a quick 1-0 lead.

After Mets captain David Wright homered to give the Mets the lead in the bottom of the first, Syndergaard coughed up another run by allowing three consecutive singles and a third score on a passed ball. His pitches were hard, but it did not stop the Royals from getting enough wood on them to make things seem like Syndergaard would not be long for Game 3, and that the Mets would have to cover too many innings with their bullpen in the first game of three in a row at home.

Before Syndergaard got out of that two-run second inning, Collins had Jon Niese warming in the bullpen, because even he knew the leash had to be short at the risk of finding his club one win away from watching the Royals celebrate on New York’s own diamond. 

“We swung the bat really good against him in the first two innings,” Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters in his postgame press conference. “If you’re going to get a really good pitcher, you better get him early. And we put some runs on the board against him early, but he settled in. He settled down and started throwing his secondary stuff for strikes and spotting his fastball better.”

Once that happened, Syndergaard was masterful. He struck out five in his next four innings, and the next baserunner did not come until there were two outs in the sixth inning. A single and a couple of walks loaded the bases for Kansas City, but on his 104th pitch, a slider, Syndergaard got Alex Rios to ground out to strand all three runners.

Syndergaard was not dominant Friday night, except for a stretch of 12 consecutive hitters from the end of the second through two outs in the sixth. In fact, he had the same bottom-line results as Game 1 starter Matt Harvey, though one start was praised, while the other was tamped down.

Why? Because the Mets scored for Thor the way they could not for the Dark Knight. In Game 1, the Mets scored three runs while Harvey was in the game, and he left with it tied. In Game 3, Syndergaard got all nine runs and left (officially) with a six-run lead.

It does not matter how the Mets won, or who is celebrated in victory. Not now. Not when the Game 3 stakes were either get back into the series or have all hope sucked from your team. In that kind of circumstance, all that matters is the final score. And with that in play, Syndergaard did exactly what he had to for the Mets to get the win.

Now, they are in decent shape. They still trail by a game, but they are home with Steven Matz (2.58 ERA in eight major league starts, including the postseason) pitching against Kansas City’s Chris Young, who had a 4.52 FIP in 123.1 innings this season. Win that game, and things go from seemingly impossible for the Mets to somewhat favorable with co-aces Harvey and Jacob deGrom throwing the next two.

But before anyone could consider those possibilities, the Mets needed to keep breathing. And Noah Syndergaard, the young man with the superhero nickname, allowed them to do so.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired first-hand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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