Click below to listen to an interview with Mets minor league pitcher Matt Harvey. The 2010 seventh overall selection signed late last summer so his is one of the most anticipated debuts in the Mets organization this year. Likely to start in St. Lucie, Harvey and I talked about his anticipation for the coming season, rooting for the Tar Heels and worse, rooting for the Yankees, as well as his expectations for 2011. Click on the 'Play' button below to listen in!
Check after the jump for a transcript of the interview.
Rob: I’m here with Mets minor league pitcher Matt Harvey. Matt, how’s it going?
Harvey: Good, how are you?
Rob: Not too bad. First, I wanted to start out by asking, how was your offseason?
Harvey: It was good. It was a little bit too long. Didn’t do all that much, just got in shape and worked on some pitching things and trying to get my body in shape for spring training.
Rob: So you were one of the guys who didn’t quite make it to the field last year, so this is going to be your first pro experience. Are you anxious for that? Excited? How do you feel?
Harvey: Yeah, I’m really excited. Obviously really excited to be here. I can’t wait to put on a uniform and try to compete to the best of my ability.
Rob: Has the team indicated to you at all exactly where you might be starting, anything like that?
Harvey: No, I have no idea. I haven’t heard anything. That’s a little bit difficult, but I’m just here to learn and work on things and wherever they want me to go, I’m going to compete.
Rob: Looking back to college a little bit, you pitched at UNC, which is obviously a great program. Tons of pros come out of there. What was it like to pitch for the Tar Heels?
Harvey: I loved it. It was the best, so far it’s been the best three years of my life. Putting on that uniform and getting to play against some of the top competition in college was something that not a lot of people get the opportunity to do and I’m very thankful for it. I’ve always been a Carolina fan and being able to go there was something special for me.
Rob: I’ve got to be honest, I have always been a Duke guy, so, there’s a little tension right now… (laughs) But I think we beat you this year, although there’s one more match-up coming up. We'll see what happens there.
Harvey: Yeah, we are playing you guys at home, so we will see if you can hold it down.
Rob: It’s always a fun game, no matter what. So, looking forward to 2011 a little bit more, do you have any expectations or goals that you’re setting for yourself?
Harvey: Obviously, I’d like to learn as much as I possibly can, about the organization, about pitching, and how to be successful in the minor leagues, and so on from there. I’d like to keep the ball down as much as possible and try and last long into games with a low pitch count. Obviously, everyone wants to stay healthy, that’s the number one goal.
Rob: You kind of got into the nuts and bolts a little bit. I wanted to ask you, what do you feel your strengths and weaknesses are as a pitcher?
Harvey: I’ve been fortunate enough to be gifted with a powerful arm and to be able to throw hard. I don’t want to get ahead of that too much, trying to blow it by people. I don’t think you really can in the major leagues or minor leagues as much as you could in high school or in college. Like I said before, I want to work on keeping the ball down, trying to get early at it and just attack the zone.
Rob: Now you are a somewhat local guy. You grew up in Connecticut, I think it was in the Mystic area, right? So, I’ve also heard that you were a Yankee fan growing up.
Harvey: Yeah, I was.
Rob: That’s not going to be a problem going forward, is it? (laughs)
Harvey: No, no, definitely not (laughs). I tell people all the time, I got to go to a lot of Subway Series and most of them were at Shea Stadium. So, if I was going to watch a National League team, it was always the Mets. I’m happy to be close to my hometown and represent the Northeast a little bit.
Rob: So watching games out at Shea, you know that the Mets fans can get pretty crazy. Is that something you’re looking forward to?
Harvey: Yeah, absolutely. I think I’ve always tried to strive off of fans and having great fans always helps you. Obviously it can hurt you, it just depends on how you look at it. If you’re not doing well and they’re not happy, then it’s motivation to work out and get better so that they’re not saying anything about you.
Rob: Well good luck in 2011 and going forward.