PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mere minutes before the midnight signing deadline threatened to come and go last August, Mets first-round Draft pick Matt Harvey and his agent, Scott Boras, finally agreed to a contract worth more than $2.5 million. Thus ended months of negotiations, making Harvey a Met.
By that time, however, midsummer had long since passed. Short-season Minor Leagues were wrapping up and advanced leagues were heading into the playoffs, delaying Harvey's professional debut yet again.
"I didn't necessarily want to sign as late as I did, but that's just what happened," Harvey said. "Unfortunately, by then, the season was pretty much almost over, so I just used the offseason to get ready and prepare and hopefully have a successful Spring Training."
Training at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, Harvey, 21, spent the winter throwing bullpen and live batting-practice sessions in an attempt to compensate for four months away from the mound.
"I'm not going to say it's going to be easy, but I've thrown to hitters my whole life," Harvey said. "Once you get out there, you start to get comfortable on the mound again."
Harvey is participating in the organization's annual STEP camp for Minor Leaguers, a program designed to develop the team's top prospects both on the field and in the classroom by providing services such as media and language training. Also among the participants are top prospects Cesar Puello, Cory Vaughn and Jeurys Familia.
Vaughn, an outfield prospect and the son of former big leaguer Greg Vaughn, hit .307 with 14 home runs in 72 games last year with Class A Brooklyn.
"It being my first season, I didn't know what to expect," Vaughn said. "Having success made it a whole lot more fun."