Matt Harvey throws off mound

NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey got back on the mound Friday, beginning a throwing program that the New York Mets say will take him to the end of the major-league season in September. The Mets say that Harvey could then face hitters in a low-intensity environment, possibly in the instructional league or in the Arizona Fall League.

Harvey, of course, has bigger ideas.

He's thinking playoffs.

Forget for a moment that the Mets are still a sub-.500 team. Forget that the Mets are still suggesting they don't even want Harvey to pitch in a meaningless major-league game in September.

He's thinking playoffs.

"Hopefully the guys will hold it together up here, and I'll come see them in October," he said with a grin.

It's hard to know how serious Harvey was, but the way he has approached his rehab from Tommy John surgery, it's easy to believe he meant it. It's a lot harder to believe that it would have any chance of happening.

What did happen Friday was that Harvey threw about 20 pitches off the bullpen mound. The Mets asked him to limit himself to about 60 to 70 percent effort, but Harvey said he "let the last one go a little, to see if there was still something in the tank."

He said there was.

Harvey had been waiting for this day, and actually pushed the Mets to allow him to throw on Friday. The Mets had set his official throwing program to begin next Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Florida, but they had also told Harvey that he had to wait until August.

Friday was Aug. 1. Harvey figured he had waited long enough.

"It was awesome," he said. "It was definitely a big success. It felt pretty normal. It felt like I never left the mound."

Harvey left the mound last August, and later had the surgery that basically ruled him out of pitching this season. He has said he wants to get on the mound in big-league game in 2014 -- he said it again Friday -- but the Mets still suggest they think that's a bad idea.

General manager Sandy Alderson said there are "a lot of options," mentioning both the instructional league and the fall league.

"A game situation without it being so intense that it leaves him exposed," Alderson said.

Harvey will spend most of the next two months in Florida, sticking to the plan he agreed to before the season began. The Mets' plan, Alderson said, is that he will pitch until the first week of October, then shut it down until spring training.

"The key is getting him to a level of comfort and confidence going into spring training 2015," Alderson said.

That sounds reasonable, but this is Matt Harvey.

He's thinking playoffs.