PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Matt Harvey thinks he is on the right track as he tries to regain the form that made him an All-Star in 2013.
"I was pleased with putting up zeroes but also to be able to throw my pitches and keep guys guessing," the 28-year-old right-hander said. "I didn't go late into the game because we're only going three innings, but I finished the outing strong and came out with zeroes."
An All-Star who started the 2013 game at the Mets' Citi Field, Harvey has struggled since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow that August. He was 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA over 29 starts when he returned in 2015 following Tommy John surgery. He then slumped to 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 2016, when he didn't start after July 4 because of thoracic outlet syndrome, which required another operation.
He wound up 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA last year, when he was sidelined from mid-June until September because of a stress fracture in his scapula, which connects the arm with the collarbone.
Harvey, who is eligible for free agency after this season, threw in the mid-90 mph range against the Tigers. Not quite the level he reached in his youth, but enough to be effective.
"I think the third inning I felt better than the first two innings," he said. "Usually it's the other way around. That's a good sign. I was able to get in trouble and get out of it."
Harvey had one strikeout and one walk in a 46-pitch outing.
"He pitched with not his best stuff today," new Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "Throughout the season you're going to have a handful of those. If you can get through those, that's huge. He did a good job of throwing strike one and maybe fell behind after that, but he knew he had good stuff, made a pitch and got out of it. He can be very good for us."
"Being able to go three against that lineup was a good test," Harvey said. "There were a couple of pitches that were here or there that weren't mechanically as I wanted, but I was able to bounce back pretty quickly and get it under control."
Brandon Nimmo hit his second homer of spring training leading off the first inning against RHP Mike Fiers, a drive just right of the batter's eye. ... Jose Reyes drove in a pair of runs with a double in the seventh, while Travis d'Arnaud doubled in a run in the first. ... LHP Jason Vargas is to start Tuesday against the Houston Astros and RHP Collin McHugh, and RHP Zack Wheeler is to pitch Wednesday against the New York Yankees.