Morning Briefing: Happy Matt Harvey Day?


FIRST PITCH: Now this should be a very interesting Matt Harvey Day.

For the first time since the innings-cap hullabaloo exploded -- and potentially for the last time for a while -- Harvey (12-7, 2.60 ERA) pitches for the New York Mets. The innings-restricted ace opposes Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.38) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.

General manager Sandy Alderson on Monday acknowledged Harvey would make fewer starts during the remainder of the regular season than the Mets originally planned. The team originally had four penciled in, including Tuesday.

Regardless of Harvey's availability, Alderson said, the Mets will stick with a six-man rotation because Noah Syndergaard's innings need to be conserved, too. So expect to see Logan Verrett subbing for Harvey at points down the stretch, including likely the next turn.

USA Today reported that the Mets' plan will have Harvey skipped once after Tuesday's start, then pitch again. Harvey also would pitch during the final series of the season, against the Nationals at Citi Field, if those games are meaningful. As for the postseason, the report suggested the Mets' plan is for one start per round and, potentially, no more than 60 pitches in any outing.

Responding to the USA Today report, Alderson told ESPN.com on Monday night: "Any plans we have for the rest of the regular season are tentative. We have not spent any time yet on a ‘playoff' plan. Nothing has been discussed in that regard."

Harvey sits at 166 1/3 innings. The most innings ever thrown in the first season back from Tommy John surgery belongs to John Lackey with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- 215 1/3 between the regular and postseason. The only other pitchers on that list to have exceeded 200 innings their first season back: Adam Wainwright (213 2/3 in 2012), Tommy John (207 in 1976) and Jake Westbrook (202 2/3 in 2010).

All of those pitchers were older than the 26-year-old Harvey and had exceeded 200 innings earlier in their careers. Of course, the Mets note, Harvey had 17 months between his operation and a return to games.

"I think Matt Harvey is going to step up and show everybody in New York, everybody in baseball, that he's as tough as the persona he puts on," manager Terry Collins said Monday. "I think [Tuesday] he's going to show everybody, ‘Look, I'm going to pitch. I'm going to pitch well. How much longer I'm going to pitch is undetermined at this time.' But he'll turn out tomorrow. … Matt Harvey is a competitor. As I told him the other day, ‘Look, the only way you're going to restore all the things you stand for is to walk out there on that mound and pitch like you can pitch. That's the only way you earn it. That's what got you here.'"

Captain David Wright, who spent four innings on the bench talking to Harvey on Sunday in Miami, said about their dialogue: "Private conversations remain private."

Still, Wright said, the innings flap has not created an issue in the clubhouse.

"It's not a distraction at all," Wright said. "We're talking about the Washington Nationals. There's nothing else to it. I think it's a much bigger story outside this clubhouse than it is in the clubhouse because nobody is talking about it. Quite frankly, we're going about our business.

"I could be wrong, but I don't think a lot of us follow, really, a lot of the things," Wright added. "I don't have social media. I don't check people's Twitters or Instagrams or anything. I don't really know the extent of everything that goes on all the time. But I think that guys in here, if they do check it and do know what's going on, they do a nice job of not letting it be known, because it's business as usual."


BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Parnell turns 31. ... Don Aase is 61.


YOU'RE UP: Will Harvey dominate the Nationals on Tuesday?