PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Since high school, Matt Harvey has drawn a guide line on the pitcher's mound before every inning, digging his cleat in the dirt perpendicular to home plate. The line helps him keep his mechanics fluid, preventing him from crossing his arm across his body as he throws.
Harvey paid particular attention to that issue during his bullpen session this week, then focused on those improvements throughout Thursday's Grapefruit League start against the Marlins. The results were 4 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings.
"He's on a mission to be real good," manager Terry Collins said. "When you bring something up to him, he applies himself."
Harvey mowed down 13 of the 14 Marlins batters he faced at Tradition Field, the lone exception coming on shortstop Omar Quintanilla's fielding error. Showcasing an improved changeup from his previous outings, Harvey felt as sharp as he looked.
"He was definitely locked in," catcher Anthony Recker said. "Over on the mound on the side, warming up, he was locked in, throwing strikes down in the zone. And then he went out there and took it out into the game, which is really impressive."
Partially because his mechanics were out of whack, Harvey said, he bounced several changeups in his previous start against the Marlins. Not so on Thursday, which is a good sign for the young right-hander. Minor adjustments could play a significant role in how he adapts during his sophomore season.
"Scouting reports are out now," Collins said. "Films, scouting reports, they're all over the place. So now it's about making adjustments and making pitches."