Now, Harvey is entering his first season back from another serious procedure. Harvey underwent season-ending surgery on July 18 in St. Louis to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. The procedure involved removing a rib so that muscles constricting a nerve that bridges the neck and shoulder had space to relax.
Already noticing improvement, including a restoration of feeling to his pitching hand, Harvey hopes he can once again excel in 2017.
"I'd like to think so. Obviously I don't have a crystal ball," he said Wednesday while making an appearance at Target in College Point, Queens, as part of a Mets-sponsored holiday shopping spree for 14 New York City-area children. "The way things are feeling now, the way the body feels, I'm feeling great."
Agent Scott Boras has suggested the nerve compression affected Harvey for much of the season by reducing the feeling in the fingers on his pitching hand. That could explain Harvey's uncharacteristic 4-10 record and 4.86 ERA in 17 starts in 2016 before the shutdown. An alternative explanation for the swoon had been that Harvey's record-setting workload coming back from the Tommy John surgery the previous season took a toll.
Including the postseason, Harvey logged 216 innings in 2015 -- the most in MLB history in a first season back after Tommy John surgery.
Harvey said any numbness in his right hand is gone.
"My hand was really cold all the time," he said. "I've got some warmth back and no more tingling. The ball is coming out really good right now, especially for December."
Harvey will be one of five Mets starting pitchers working back from surgeries next season.
Right-hander Jacob deGrom had surgery in September to reposition the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow. Steven Matz, sidelined late in the season by a left shoulder impingement that irritated the rotator cuff, had surgery in October to remove a massive bone spur from his pitching elbow. Right-hander Robert Gsellman required offseason surgery to repair a labrum tear in his non-pitching shoulder. And right-hander Zack Wheeler still has not returned from Tommy John surgery performed in March 2015.
Harvey resumed regular baseball workouts, including throwing on flat ground, a month ago. He is now up to long-tossing at 120 feet. He will return in January to work out at his agent's facility in Newport Beach, California. Harvey plans to arrive at the Mets' spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, a week before the official Feb. 12 report date for pitchers and catchers -- right after the Super Bowl.
"I'm feeling great," Harvey said. "My workouts are going well. I'm just looking forward to getting down to spring training and having a good time. ... Obviously being healthy through spring training and getting to the season and continuing to be healthy through the season is a big plus for me and something I'm looking forward to doing.
"As far as the offseason goes, I'm right where I want to be."