Matt Harvey deletes Twitter account

NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey's Twitter account is outta here.

Harvey's final tweet Tuesday created a stir. On the six-month anniversary of his Tommy John procedure, the rehabbing New York Mets ace tweeted "I can't believe it's been 6 months already.#tommyjohn" and attached a photo of himself from his hospital bed in October, with his middle finger raised.

Shortly thereafter, the tweet disappeared. Then Harvey's entire Twitter account was deleted. He had amassed more than 100,000 followers.

The Mets confirmed requesting that the tweet be deleted because it contained a photo with a potentially offensive gesture, but added that the decision to delete the account belonged to Harvey.

Harvey confirmed that sequence of events, and suggested his motivation was merely comedy.

"It wasn't me trying to bring bad press to the New York Mets or anything like that," Harvey said Tuesday afternoon in the dugout at Citi Field. "It was my account, and I felt like it was a funny picture. Obviously it was taken the wrong way, so I took it down. ... When you can't really have fun anymore on a social media account, I think it comes time to get rid of it. I'll have my fun with my friends and teammates, who do know me for who I am.

"I didn't think there was anything officially wrong with it. You listen to the radio and you hear a lot of rap music and things that are a lot worse than what I was showing -- a genuine excitement and a little bit of laughter toward a picture that I was looking at this morning. To stop the controversy, deleting the Twitter was an easy out of not worrying about it anymore."

He said his mother took the photo as he was heading into surgery on Oct. 22.

"I think I looked up at the calendar and realized it's been six months. And I was kind of surprised," Harvey said. "So I went back and looked at some of the pictures that my mother was taking before surgery, and kind of got a good chuckle at that one. ... That was how I felt going into surgery, realizing it was going to be a pretty long process ahead of me. It was all fun and games. It was me showing a little bit of my personality before surgery.

"I'm not going to apologize for being myself and having a good laugh at a funny little picture. I've kind of had enough with Twitter and, I guess, not being able to show your personal side. I'll keep those pictures to myself."

Twitter and Harvey have been a volatile mix. He tangled with a sports radio host who had criticized his nightlife as well as with an aggressive Yankees fan while vacationing in Thailand. Harvey also pushed back against organization attempts to curtail his tweeting as the club preferred he step out of the spotlight this season while rehabbing.

"I thought the whole reason to have a Twitter was to put out there a little bit of fun and show your personal side a little bit," Harvey said. "But I guess when that gets questioned from a picture or so many wrongdoings, there comes a time where you have to get rid of it."

Meanwhile, Harvey still hopes to pitch this season, even though that does not appear to be the preference of team officials. He currently is throwing on flat ground at 90 feet.

"Throwing and everything feels extremely well," Harvey said. "I'm happy where I'm at. I know they say it usually takes a year for recovery. And six months is halfway. At the time, I think when I was looking ahead to six months, it seemed like a century away. It's been a quick six months."

Harvey said he is fully aware of the rash of repeat Tommy John surgery patients of late. He indicated that his agent, Scott Boras, has studied the data involving young pitchers who had the procedure twice to determine if any commonalities exist.

"Him and his team have done a lot of research -- extra, extended research," Harvey said. "He had an extended talk with me about the timetable and the guys 25 and under who have had Tommy John surgery and are now going back in for a second one. The research is definitely starting to build on why those guys are going back in a second time."

Harvey even has reflected on his usage during his teenage years. "I was looking back on a lot of these tournaments and stuff that I went to when I was 15, 16 years old," he said. "You're traveling around from tournament to tournament at the age of 16. If you have one [tournament] and you go there and throw two or three innings and then you don't have one for two weeks, at 16 how much strengthening or throwing are you really doing in between those tournaments before you have to go blow it out again?

"I think everyone has their own theories about what might have caused these problems. I'd say, since I didn't have a specific blunt injury, it was more so over time. Like Dr. [James] Andrews said, it might have been something there since I was 15 years old."