8/13/2014 12:12 A.M. ET
Hefner's setback could slow rehab for Harvey
By Tim Healey / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Just as Matt Harvey's rehabilitation was beginning to ramp up, the Mets might be slowing it down.
The club got word this week that right-hander Jeremy Hefner -- who underwent Tommy John surgery last August -- suffered a significant setback in the form of a reinjured ulnar collateral ligament and stress fracture of his ulna bone in his pitching arm, and according to general manager Sandy Alderson, that might be reason enough to pull in the reins on Harvey.
Alderson called Hefner's recurrence "unusual" and "a pretty rare occurrence." He also said twice that neither the Mets nor Hefner thought the pitcher's rehab schedule was overly aggressive.
Still, Alderson indicated the Mets are taking this anecdotal case and might alter Harvey's schedule following his Tommy John surgery last October.
"One of the things we've tried to do is by the end of the season, get Matt into a situation where he's comfortable going into next season. Part of that is where he is physically. Part of that is where he is mentally," Alderson said. "It's conceivable -- we haven't talked about it, but given Jeremy's situation -- we'll end up in a slightly different place physically in terms of whether he's throwing bullpens or live BP or actual innings."
Harvey is working out at the Mets' Minor League complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and making his way through that progression -- from mound sessions to batting practice to games. Earlier this month, the plan was for Harvey to work through at least the end of September and potentially pitch in an Arizona Fall League game.
Alderson said Harvey's timetable will not face any immediate changes given that the right-hander is still only throwing off a mound. The team will consider alterations "over the next week or so."
"Matt's a very smart guy, and yes, he tends to be very intense about everything, including his rehab, and aggressive about it," Alderson said. "At the same time, I think he is constantly reassessing based on new information -- new information about how he feels, about the nature of the injury and other cases, other situations. My sense is Matt will at least take this into account, as we are."
Alderson did acknowledge that making sure Harvey is mentally comfortable heading into the winter is an important factor.
"That doesn't have to involve pitching in a Major League game, that doesn't have to involve pitching in a Fall League game, that doesn't have to involve pitching in even the Instructional League," Alderson said.
Alderson sidestepped a question about how receptive Harvey was to the idea of not pitching an inning this season.
"That's something you'll get a chance to ask him at some point. My sense is he's reassessing," Alderson said. "It's conceivable that Matt will feel fine saying, 'Hey, I'm just going to throw bullpens the rest of the year, and I'll see you in Port St. Lucie.'"
deGrom encouraged by shoulder's progress
NEW YORK -- It's only been a day since the Mets placed Jacob deGrom on the 15-day disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis, but the rookie righty is already encouraged by how much better he feels. The hope is he will miss just two starts and return when he is eligible on Aug. 23.
"I already feel a lot better with just the couple of days' rest that I've had [compared to] doing the tests the other day at the hospital," deGrom said. "My strength is a lot better than when I first did them."
deGrom is taking anti-inflammatories and receiving physical therapy on his shoulder. He does not know when he'll start throwing again, but manager Terry Collins said it could be toward the end of this homestand, which wraps up Monday.
General manager Sandy Alderson said deGrom was initially reluctant to go on the DL but ended up buying into the club's thinking. deGrom said given his innings limit -- Alderson has previously pegged it around 180 -- he would have likely missed a start or two anyway, so it made sense to allow this bout of tendinitis to recede more completely.
That will give deGrom, who has thrown 138 2/3 innings between the Majors and Triple-A Las Vegas, the best chance to finish the season on a positive note.
"You want to finish strong and healthy," deGrom said. "The most important thing right now is to make sure everything feels fine whenever I come back.
"It's good to know it's nothing serious, which I didn't think it was to begin with. Getting [test results] back and knowing it's not [serious] is a good feeling."
• Hefner's next step is uncertain. He could wind up undergoing reconstructive surgery again.
"Jeremy took it very stoically," Alderson said. "Just a tough, tough development for him. … He worked hard to get back to where he was."
• Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (sore right elbow) pitched three shutout innings for Class A Advanced St. Lucie on Monday in his first rehab outing. He threw 21 of his 39 pitches for strikes, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out three.
Matsuzaka will need at least one more rehab appearance before returning to the Mets, according to Collins. Matsuzaka will next pitch for Double-A Binghamton on Saturday. The Mets are looking to stretch Matsuzaka out in case they need him to start.
"After the game [Monday], [the elbow] felt fine -- no tightness, no pain," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "So I'm feeling pretty good right now."
• Alderson cited "merit" as one reason -- along with 40-man roster considerations -- Rafael Montero got the start Tuesday against the Nationals over top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. Montero (3.15 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) has tossed 14 2/3 shutout innings in his last two Minor League starts, while Syndergaard (4.79 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) has allowed three earned runs over 16 innings in his last three outings.
Alderson also said it's possible Syndergaard does not see the Majors at all in 2014.
"Be patient," the GM said. "He'll be here at some point."
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.