PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Matt Harvey received the news he was waiting for on Wednesday, when doctors cleared him to begin throwing a baseball for the first time since Tommy John surgery.
Harvey, who underwent surgery on Oct. 22, expects to begin throwing in a few days, according to pitching coach Dan Warthen. Through a team spokesman, the right-hander declined comment on the latest step in his recovery, as did general manager Sandy Alderson.
It was just one of many hurdles that Harvey must clear in his aim to return by Opening Day 2015. Once Harvey begins throwing off flat ground, he will gradually increase the distance until he is ready to pitch off a mound. He will then increase the intensity of those sessions until he is ready to pitch in games.
Teammate Jeremy Hefner's Tommy John rehab program requires him to reach 150 feet off flat ground before climbing atop a mound, and Harvey's will likely be similar.
Though Harvey hopes to contribute to the Mets as soon as September, the organization does not realistically expect him back until next year.
"If things can work out quicker than normal, then we'll see," Harvey said last weekend. "But I can't make that call."