Each spring, MLB teams have one or more players working hard to make a comeback or regain their prior form. Sometimes players are battling age and other times they are trying to recover from injury.
New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey is trying to come back from injury to regain his once dominant form. Harvey, now seven months removed from surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome, a disorder that caused numbness in his throwing arm that surfaced last spring, is putting in the work to make his way back and bounce back from going 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 17 starts.
“It was kind of an unknown feeling,” Harvey said when discussing surgery to remove a rib from his torso. “Throwing a baseball has always been easy for me. Last year, it just wasn’t.”
“I tried as much as I could to battle through it,” Harvey said. “Eventually, it just wasn’t helping.”
Harvey is no stranger to surgery. Harvey had Tommy John surgery in October 2013 and his most recent surgery saw Harvey lose a rib in order to free up pinched nerves in his shoulder. Harvey has been working hard to rehab ever since.
“I knew something wasn’t right,” Harvey said. “Throwing a baseball is one of the easiest things I do. And to go through a process like that of really not having an idea why it’s so difficult to throw, it became pretty tough. Everybody wishes they could go back and change something. It was a tough process. I’m glad to be at Spring Training and healthy.”
“He was so good. He was so good,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “This guy, when he took the mound, you just knew you were going to win a game. Now, we just have to wait and see how he’s going to feel.”
“Good” is an understatement. In 2013, Harvery posted a 2.27 ERA with 191 strikeouts and 31 walks in 178 1/3 innings. Both Harvey and the Mets are hoping that he can get back to that form, or something very close to it.
“I saw the fire that I’ve seen in the past,” Collins said. “He’s bound and determined to make last year go away. Fast.”
Harvey can look at pitchers Josh Beckett and Chris Young, who both came back from thoracic outlet syndrome and found success.
For now, it’s all about putting in the work in spring training and as far as the eye tests go, Harvey is making an impression with his manager.