It was an encouraging outing for New York Met pitcher Matt Harvey as he came back into the dugout to the “high fives” of his Cyclone teammates after striking out the side to complete three scoreless innings against the Aberdeen Ironbirds in his second minor league rehab start on August 16 at MCU Park.
However, Harvey’s three innings would be the only bright spot for the night as the 15-38 last place Cyclones would lose in the later innings 6-2 to Aberdeen.
After sustaining a stress condition in his right shoulder in late June, Harvey’s MCU Park appearance was a test to see if the Mets’ 2013 All Star was regaining his 2015 form; that year, he was named “Comeback Player of the Year” after sitting out the 2014 season due to “Tommy John surgery.”
Compared to a week ago, when he pitched one inning at Dutchess County Stadium against the Hudson Valley Renegades, Harvey appeared to be more confident in Brooklyn after being shut down for two months.
At MCU Park, Harvey was in control of his pitches with the exception of one wild pitch in the second inning. In all, Harvey faced just 10 batters, throwing only 36 pitches over his three innings and giving up no runs and just one hit. He even picked off an Aberdeen runner from second base to end the second inning.
After completing his scheduled three innings, Harvey stated, “My arm feels great.” The Mets’ 2010 first round draft pick then explained that for him pitching is “a feel and mechanical thing” in order to get rhythm and timing back on the mound.
Regaining that “feel,” Harvey mainly threw fastballs to contact in the first two innings and by the third inning he was mixing in his off-speed pitches to get two batters out swinging and the last batter out on a called third strike.
When asked if he had advice for the young players at this minor league level, Harvey stated, “Baseball season is a grind; make sure you work hard each day and take care of your body.”
Commenting on his first ever minor league rehab assignment, Harvey stated, “It was cool leaving the clubhouse with all the guys wishing me good luck.”
As far as the Cyclones were concerned, Harvey made an impression on the team both on the field and in the clubhouse, according to Brooklyn pitcher Joe Napolitano.
“You could see that he was a bit shaky in Hudson Valley, but he appeared to be in control back in Brooklyn,” said the Cyclone relief pitcher. “He went about his business in the clubhouse while still being approachable, answering our questions about pitching.”
Harvey also came through on the time-honored tradition of buying his minor league teammates a clubhouse dinner.
“He was very good to us,” said Napolitano. “He bought us an Outback dinner in Hudson Valley and last night an Italian dinner from Gargiulo’s.”