Keith Hernandez had not thrown a baseball in years before playing catch with a friend Saturday morning.

"Why would I throw a baseball?" he said before Game 1 of the NLCS, which gave him a reason to do so and prompted his practice session earlier in the day.

Hernandez, who is working on SNY's pregame and postgame coverage during the Mets' postseason, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Was he nervous? "What's the obvious thing?" he said. "That I don't want to spike it. I kind of played catch this morning with a friend of mine. It was OK. I think I'll be all right."

He was. Throwing from the front edge of the mound, Hernandez successfully reached catcher Kevin Plawecki on a pitch that appeared to be a bit inside had there been a righty batter at the plate.

"It was close enough,'' he said afterward. "I got the out."

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Hernandez said before the game he would throw from the mound only after checking with Mets starter Matt Harvey to see whether he is OK with it. But he said afterward that Harvey was in the bullpen and he did not want to bother him.

Hernandez, a lefthander, has had problems with his right shoulder but said his left one is not so good, either. "I tore that rotator cuff, too, but it's a minor tear," he said. "I'm not nervous, but I do want to reach home plate.

"I'm tempted to do like I'm fielding a ground ball and turning a double play. But that would be hamming it up. I'm just going to get the ball and throw it, trust me."

It was not Hernandez's first ceremonial first pitch. He throw one to former teammate Howard Johnson on Opening Day in 2007.