As Matt Harvey continues to power his way through his rehab from Tommy John surgery, he and the Mets continue to butt heads over the pace of his recovery. That Harvey and the Mets once again have differing viewpoints is nothing new, but after tossing a 27-pitch bullpen session, the 25-year-old spoke to Rick DiPietro and Alan Hahn of ESPN New York, 98.7 on Wednesday evening to discuss his progress.
A few highlights of the 14-minute interview include:
- Harvey's continued rehab from Tommy John surgery and thoughts on the impact Jeremy Hefner's injury might have on him.
- Harvey discussed the excitement surrounding New York's pitching staff next season and beyond.
- The famed ice water challenge making its way around social media, including Harvey's own version of the challenge on Instagram.
- His personal opinion on how to speed up the game of baseball.
- Inventing a new brand of men's underwear with co-host and former NHL goalie, Rick DiPietro.
A full transcript of the 14-minute interview can be found below and you can listen to audio of the interview here.
Alan Hahn: Matt Harvey joins us right now. Matt, Alan Hahn, Rick DiPietro here in New York. You're down in Port St. Lucie. I guess the first thing, first, you threw off the slope of the mound last week, how are you feeling?
Matt Harvey: Pretty unreal. I couldn't be happier with the way things have gone and a little surprising now, I've gone off the mound here four or five times and honestly feels like nothing's happened. Moving forward is obviously something I have on my mind the way that everything feels but I know there's a process and as a competitor I want to get back out there as soon as possible, but you know health is the main factor.
Rick DiPietro: Twiggy, it's berries.
Harvey: What's up buddy?
DiPietro: How you doing pal?
Harvey: Good, bud.
DiPietro: Good, I know how hard it was for you to accept the fact you needed Tommy John in the first place and you'd actually be out for a whole season. I want to know how hard has it been being away from the game?
Harvey: You know it's tough. I think I talked to you about that a bunch of times, obviously staying at your house. You know, as a competitor and the season that I had last year, the last thing I wanted to do was let New York down and let my team down and not be there to compete for every fifth day and go out there and do what I do and love doing. You know it's been tough. It's been a really long season. You know I couldn't thank the Mets for, I know it was a little battle there at the beginning but, you know, really letting me stay in New York and be with the team while they were at least at home was, you know it was a big help and definitely made the time go by quicker and rehab not as painful. It's been a tough ride but it definitely could have been worse.
Hahn: And I'm sure you're seeing a little bit of the light at the end of the tunnel at this point, but after Jeremy Hefner goes through what he just went through re-injuring that elbow and Sandy Alderson comes out and he said he spoke with you about slowing down the rehab process right now. I'm sure you want to come back, as soon as you possibly can. Has this sort of made you reassess and possibly say to yourself, you know what, it's better if I come back in my own time instead of trying to rush this?
Harvey: Yeah, I think the tough part with that is just how good I feel and just how good the ball is coming out. You know, I threw a bullpen today and I didn't miss a spot. I felt like I was you know, easily throwing into the low to mid-90s with pretty much no effort. That's the tough part. The tough part is feeling physically ready while I'm throwing bullpens and getting off the mound, but I think once you look at a situation like Jeremy, you know he felt great the whole time and then once he started facing some hitters, that's when he started having some trouble. I think when it comes down to it, I think everybody's obviously different. Every body's different. There's no saying that a guy can't come back within 10-11 months and be fine or it might take some other guys 13-14 months. You know, for me, I'm going off the way my body feels and the way is responding to me through the whole process and it's been nothing but success. You know, obviously as a competitor I want to move forward.
DiPietro: Speaking of bodies, Matt, this brings up the next point. I was fortunate enough to see your Instagram of your cold tub challenge and all of a sudden I'm seeing six-pack abs, all ripped up. I'm glad to see, you're a little pasty but like I always say, you can't get a tan at the gym.
Harvey: Well, I can't get a tan over at the Sandals over in Long Island in your house.
DiPietro: I'm thinking of putting a tanning bed in for you at this point.
Harvey: I think we should. The gym needs a little addition over there in the corner, but you know, I mean that was obviously something that had been asked for me from a few friends who knew him personally. It was a great cause, it was a great thing and obviously, it's spreading like wildfire and people all over the United States and all over the world are getting involved in ALS and making sure that everybody is aware of it and helping out the good cause.
Hahn: You know, now I'm challenged. Myself, Wally Szczerbiak are being challenged by Al Trautwig at MSG Network that we have to do it. Now if you check, you can check on my Twitter feed. Trautwig put a video, Matt. He's using like a Dixie cup?
DiPietro: It's not even a Dixie cup, it's embarrassing. It's like a shot glass of warm water.
Hahn: Right, it's a rock glass with chipped ice and he puts it over his head and that's the challenge. You need to tell me, because I have to answer this now. So give me your advice. What is the way I can do this where I will completely outdo what Al Trautwig did?
Harvey: Well I don't know, because I watched a video of a guy who got glacier water dumped on him by a helicopter.
DiPietro: That's a whole new level.
Hahn: Oh, that was Paul Bissonnette, right? That was 'Biz-Nasty.'
Harvey: Yeah, that was him. So, after watching that I feel like my little ice dump in the tub was nothing compared to some glacier water at 15,000 feet or wherever he was.
DiPietro: And that's your play-by-play announcer for your favorite team. Your favorite hockey team, as much as it pains me to say that.
Hahn: Well actually, Rick was actually telling me about the poster you have of Henrik Lundqvist. I find that to be, it's a conflict of interest.
DiPietro: He comes over my house, sleeps at the Sandals resort and he's wearing a Henrik Lundqvist t-shirt as pajamas.
Hahn: That's embarrassing.
Harvey: Yeah I mean, you guys don't go in the room there very much so I try to decorate as much as I possibly can with my own personal items.
Hahn: There'll be no converting.
DiPietro: It's all inclusive, that's what happens.
Hahn: What's amazing though, is you wear orange and blue and yet you wouldn't be an Islanders fan, why wouldn't you if you are wearing orange and blue? But we do see you at Knick games so I appreciate that at least.
DiPietro: I'm telling you right now. This guy has immersed himself in New York. It's amazing.
Hahn: It's the way to go.
DiPietro: He just loves New York sports and this guy, he could be on the radio if he wanted to be.
Hahn: Well that's why we're doing this right now, but Harv, the question I have for you of course is, we talk about all the different teams here in New York and while the Mets right now are not in contention for anything, there's a lot of talk about how this team, next year, considering this pitching staff: yourself, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard if they bring him up, you obviously have Jonathon Niese, Montero pitched last night, they've got some serious arms waiting next season.
Hahn: As you come back, as you think about next season. We get closer to fall, obviously you start thinking about 2015, you must have some great anticipation of what this team could be about next year.
Harvey: Oh 100 percent, 100 percent. I think that's part of the reason why I want to come back so bad this year, is to start that off and finish this year on a high note with everybody back and healthy and you know, really go into the offseason with a starting staff that people will be excited about coming to watch next year. It was important for me to come back this year and I'd love to obviously, but the excitement of watching deGrom and Wheeler and Dillon Gee and Jon Niese and Bartolo and whoever they decide to go with next year for the starting five. Obviously there's some serious fire power in there and we're all looking forward to it. I'm definitely looking forward to it, obviously after sitting out all this year, it's exciting. I'm hoping, as a baseball player I think you wish the offseason would take a little bit longer than it normally does but I think this year, I'm definitely hoping it definitely goes by in a week. It's really all I've been thinking about and it's been exciting to watch the young guys develop and come up and obviously after throwing a couple of bullpens, just the way that I feel, the way the balls coming out, if not better than I've ever felt in my entire life so. That's obviously exciting and I'm definitely looking forward to spring training and 2015.
Hahn: That's music to the ears of any Mets fan listening out there right now. It's Alan Hahn with Rick DiPietro, ESPN New York, 98.7 FM, talking with Mets ace pitcher, Matt Harvey from Port St. Lucie. He threw some bullpen again today, throwing low to mid-90s, he's telling us, feeling really good, taking his time but working his way back and we're talking about, obviously, next season right now. We'll see where he ends up for the Mets next season. Before I let you go, and again, thanks so much for the time here today, Matt, baseball is going to be selecting a new commissioner to replace Bud Selig, probably expected to be Rob Manfred. You're a guy who works quickly. You like to work fast. A lot of complaints about the game of baseball is that it's just too slow; guys keep stepping out of the box. If you were commissioner, what would be something that you would do to help speed up the game?
Harvey: You know, I don't know. I think I've always worked fast. That's just kind of the way I've always been. After obviously playing other positions in high school, and you know, with me on the mound I worry about my teammates and guys sitting out there for too long. If I work quick and stay in the ballgame and they get to be in every pitch just as much as I am, that helps the game, that helps the game move. I don't know if it's necessarily a basketball term where you come up with some sort of shot clock for pitching. You know, for me, I've always worked quick and I think that helps your team as much as it helps you. If you can pound the strike zone and work quick, your team's going to be in every pitch and that's the way that I've always felt and definitely gotten some good feedback from teammates. It's nice to get out of the ballpark at 9:30 every once in a while instead of 10:30.
Hahn: I'll tell you this: It's easy to say if everybody pitched like you I'd love to watch baseball again because it's impossible. But if everybody pitched at the pace you pitched at, I'd probably watch a lot more baseball, there's no question about that. Are we going to see you a lot at the Garden this winter?
Harvey: Oh yeah, oh yeah, I'll be there. Cover your ears, Ricky.
DiPietro: You know what's funny, Matt was over at the house the other day and we went out and he goes to put his sneakers on and he had Patrick Ewing New York Knick socks on. So that's the kind of commitment we're talking about, here.
Harvey: The stamp socks.
Hahn: We've got to send you a pair of Ewings, actually. You know they make them at Ewing Athletics, they make them. We'll send him a pair of Ewings. We'll get him a Carmelo jersey.
DiPietro: One thing that the NBA does well is socks. I don't go out of the house without NBA socks.
Hahn: Best socks in the world. David Lee tells me all the time. They grab as many as you can and you wear them as suit socks because they're so comfortable.
DiPietro: Oh my, they're amazing.
Harvey: Oh, hundred percent, hundred percent. Yeah, you have to.
Hahn: See, Harvey knows. I'll tell you what, when you're back in the city and Rick's in the studio with me, you come on the air in the studio, you promise?
Harvey: Oh, a hundred percent.
DiPietro: We've got to reunited twig and berries. We can't be apart for so long.
Hahn: By the way, I can't let you go without somebody explaining about twig and berries, please.
DiPietro: Ok, so my idea and I came to Matt with it, was that you can't find a comfortable man's underwear that's cool. So we were like, maybe we should come up with...
Harvey: Good lingerie for men.
DiPietro: Yeah, good lingerie for men. Instead of Victoria's Secret, maybe Victor's Secret. But then we were like, no that's not that cool. What about twig and berries or frank and beans? We decided on twig and berries. He'd be the twig and I'd be the berries.
Hahn: This is the thing.
DiPietro: You never know, we'll see what the response is. You can tweet me or put it on the line.
Hahn: On the line, put it on the line and tweet @HDumpty39 or @MattHarvey33 and you throw that up and you guys tweet at them and you guys come up with something better than twig and berries. Or if you like the idea, let them know. Matt great to talk to you, thanks so much for the time my friend. Good luck with the comeback.
Harvey: Thanks for having me on, alright, I appreciate it guys.
DiPietro: Thanks for coming on twiggie.
Harvey: You got it buddy.