PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- No matter what the New York Mets think, Matt Harvey is convinced he can pitch at some point this season.
The Mets ace had elbow ligament-replacement surgery Oct. 22 and hasn’t thrown a baseball from more than 60 feet off flat ground. New York doesn’t expect him to return until 2015.
"I still have in my mind that I want to come back this year, and whether the doctors clear that or the people upstairs have other ideas, my mindset as a competitor is to get back on the field," Harvey said Tuesday. "Everybody’s always going to so cautious about the recovery, but as a competitor we’re always going to want to get back on the field. If the doctors at that point say it’s fine, my mind is always going to be on the baseball field."
Harvey went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and was the NL starter in last year’s All-Star game at Citi Field. The team announced Aug. 26 that the right-hander had partially torn his ulnar collateral ligament.
"I want to be on the field more than anybody," Harvey said. "I also know there is a process, and it’s slow. You have to take things very carefully, and everybody’s different. My mindset is always going to be come back early and come back and win."
Harvey has been making 20 tosses at a time from 60 feet since Feb. 22. The next step in the rehabilitation process is to throw from 75 feet, which he hopes to do by the end of the week.
He would like to continue his rehabilitation in New York rather than Port St. Lucie, the team’s spring training home.
Harvey has not settled the matter with the front office yet, but expects a conversation with general manager Sandy Alderson before the team breaks camp next Thursday.
"I’ve made it pretty clear I would like to stay with the team and learn from them, watch (catcher) Travis (d’Arnaud), learn from the other pitchers, have an opportunity to learn the league better," Harvey said.
According to the collective bargaining agreement, the Mets cannot force Harvey to rehab in Port St. Lucie for more than 20 days without his consent. Harvey said he’s spoken about the situation with agent Scott Boras and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
"I want to do what’s best from the organization and best for the rehab," Harvey said. "At that point, it’s going to be a discussion of where’s the best place is at certain times to do things. I think for me mentally and the fact of learning the hitters and being in the game for me, would be in New York. That would be a good period of time, and then once it’s time to get ready and come back, obviously down here is the place I need to be."