Matt Harvey In Opening Rotation After All

Only two weeks ago, Mets GM Sandy Alderson publicly announced that Matt Harvey might not make his 2015 debut until the Mets’ home opener on April 13 — a full week after Opening Day.

Yet today, when the question was asked of Mets manager Terry Collins, Collins made abundantly clear that Harvey would be pitching before then.

Per Adam Rubin of ESPN:

“He’s going to be in those first five guys, I’ll tell you that,” Collins said Saturday.

Asked if that meant Harvey would pitch one of the first five games of the season, Collins replied: “Yes.”

Hmm … so, who’s in charge? Alderson or Collins? Or Harvey?

Or did something miraculous change in the past two weeks? Or is this yet another situation of Mets management not being on the same page — an issue that’s been chronicled here at MetsToday going back to the Willie Randolph / Tony Bernazard / Omar Minaya days?

Since I have no idea what Matt Harvey did in the weeks and months leading up to spring training, I can’t say for sure whether Harvey could be ready. But that doesn’t apply just to Harvey, but to every single starting pitcher in MLB. In a perfect world — and we’d hope that MLBers operated as close to perfect as possible — a pitcher’s training / throwing program would work backward from their first start of the season. In other words, let’s say a pitcher needs to be ready to throw 100-120 pitches by April 6th. That pitcher would then develop a progressive throwing program, starting with 120 pitches on April 6th, 110 pitches on April 1, 100 pitches on March 27, and so on, working back to figure out the date throwing should begin. Very generally speaking, most plans begin with 10-15 from a mound, and increase progressively by about 10% — with proper recovery in between each mound session.

I’m not sure when Harvey began throwing off a mound, nor where he began — he could have started on his own in Florida or an indoor space near his northeast home a few weeks prior to reporting to Port St. Lucie. Maybe Terry Collins learned that Harvey has been throwing since late December, and knows that the throwing progression puts him on target for the first week of April. Maybe Collins also has a crystal ball and knows Harvey won’t have any setbacks with his elbow despite it not being pushed during his rehab. Or maybe Collins is just talking out of his you-know-what.

(For those who wonder what I’m talking about in regard to a “progressive throwing program,” hang tight — I’ll be discussing that with Angel Borrelli during a podcast in the next few weeks. Angel and I will be kicking off another season of “The Fix” beginning next week. If you missed last year’s season, and/or have no idea what is “The Fix,” it is a weekly podcast during which Angel and I discuss conditioning for pitchers, pitching injuries, and pitching injury prevention. Baseball pitchers, coaches, and their parents may find it helpful.)

If indeed Matt Harvey will be ready by the first week of April, will he be the Opening Day starter? Shouldn’t he be? What do you think? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. TexasGusCC February 22, 2015 at 3:43 am
    I understand how Harvey pitching in one of those first three games would be good for morale. However, Collins continued to say that Harvey would not miss any starts and will not be held back in any way. Now that, is interesting.

    That doesn’t seem to follow any other pitcher’s return from TJS, so either Collins is speaking without knowledge or something just doesn’t sound right.

  2. david February 22, 2015 at 7:06 pm
    It often seems as if no one is actually in charge. I attribute it to poor communications strategy and poorer execution of that strategy.

    As a PR professional, do you agree?