SAN FRANCISCO -- Not long after arriving at AT&T Park on Monday afternoon, Matt Harvey stepped out of the Mets clubhouse to explore the grounds.
"I haven't been to these ballparks," Harvey said. "I've never seen them. I'm trying to soak everything up as much as possible."
Even Harvey admitted that butterflies will still be present when he makes his second start of the season Tuesday night against the Giants, squaring off against four-time All-Star Tim Lincecum.
"He's won two Cy Young awards," Harvey said. "Watching a guy like that and getting to face him is awesome. It's kind of surreal, but at the same time, it's what I'm here for. I'm here to compete against those kinds of guys."
Despite his 11-strikeout, scoreless debut last week in Phoenix, Harvey still has just 5 1/3 big league innings to his credit. In the days following the top prospect's debut, manager Terry Collins cautioned that Harvey will not be that sharp every time out. That much is inevitable; at 23 years old, Harvey will certainly scuffle at points between now and the end of the season -- especially once the league grows accustomed to him.
How he responds will go a long way toward determining the track of his career.
"I guess I hope he never gets challenged, but I know he will be," Collins said. "And if he's going to be, I'd rather have it sooner than later so he learns how to get through a tough time. I really think that he's prepared himself for that."