The Mets moved quickly Monday to shield Matt Harvey from the workload backlash that he brought upon himself, with general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins rushing to the defense of the embattled righthander.

"At this point, it's not about Matt not wanting to do this or not wanting to do that," Alderson said during an appearance at the St. Albans Community Living Center in Queens. "It's just a question of what we think is appropriate. I feel it's inappropriate to put all of this, or any of this frankly, on him at this point."

Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, triggered the firestorm three weeks ago when he made public a hard cap of 180 innings, which he said had been mandated by Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon who performed the pitcher's Tommy John surgery.

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Despite fighting efforts to curtail his workload all season, Harvey initially sided with his agent, leaving himself open to criticism for abandoning his team in the heat of a pennant race.

The Mets dispute the 180-inning limit, a point that Alderson reiterated Monday .

In a conference call last week, Alderson said he discussed Harvey's workload with Andrews and Boras. According to Alderson, Andrews made no mention of the cap of 180 innings.

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The controversy roared to life Sunday, when the innings considerations forced Collins to pull Harvey after five innings, though he had allowed only one hit and the Mets were leading the Yankees, 1-0.

Harvey watched the last four innings from the dugout as the Mets fell apart and lost, 11-2.

Collins railed Monday against baseball's era of innings limits, a foreign concept for much of his time in the game, though he has complied with the efforts to manage Harvey.

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"Taking Matt out after five innings last night, was I disturbed? You're damn right I was disturbed," Collins said. "But that's what it is and so I did it, for the good of Matt, hopefully, and for the good of the organization and the future."

As he did Sunday night, Collins included Harvey among those frustrated by what has mushroomed into a fiasco.

"Nobody on either side is happy about it," Collins said. "Matt's not happy about it. We're not happy about it. But that's what it is. So we move on and we play today."

Harvey, who has reached 1762/3 innings, is slated to pitch twice more in the regular season. He will go against the Reds and Nationals -- with both starts expected to be abbreviated -- as it was Sunday when Harvey was pulled after 77 pitches.

The Mets want Harvey to pitch regularly to avoid breaks heading into the postseason.

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The plans are tentative, with Alderson placing the onus on the Mets to determine what's next.

Said Alderson: "I think his point of view is that he will pitch when he's asked to pitch."

With Jordan Lauterbach