Health will be a major storyline in Mets camp this spring, with Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, David Wright, Neil Walker and Zack Wheeler among the key contributors returning from injuries. But most of the attention will be focused squarely on Matt Harvey.
Harvey, who missed the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery, was limited to 17 starts last season – none after July 4 – because of what ultimately was diagnosed as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The right-hander had surgery, which involved the removal of a rib, in June and admits he was concerned immediately afterward.
“They had a nerve block and until about three days after I had surgery I couldn’t feel my hand. I think that was a big scare for me when I was in the hospital,” Harvey told the New York Daily News after a bullpen session Monday. “Slowly, I got that back.”
After a highly successful 2015 season that included 216 innings pitched and a trip to the World Series, Harvey struggled last season (4.86 ERA, 1.47 WHIP). Part of the problem was that he pitched with “cold, tingling fingers” – a condition caused by poor circulation to his pitching hand.
“I knew something was wrong,” Harvey told the Daily News. “To throw a baseball is the easiest thing in the world for me. So to go through a process like that, of really not having an idea of why it’s so difficult to throw, it became pretty tough. It was a tough process and I am happy to be back at spring training healthy.”
Harvey says the tingling is gone and his command is back. But the questions about his ability to return to ace form will continue all spring.