ATLANTA - The Matt Harvey Plan came into sharper focus Sunday, as Mets manager Terry Collins said the righthander's appearances down the stretch will be abbreviated though more frequent.
By using Harvey as a tandem starter, the Mets hope to keep him sharp and avoid long periods of inactivity as the postseason looms while still shaving innings from his workload.
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The new plan marks a departure from the Mets' initial thinking, which involved Harvey pitching twice more in the regular season, with long breaks in between. He had been lined up to pitch in the Subway Series against the Yankees next Sunday and perhaps not again until the final series of the regular season against the Nationals.
"I think it's important that we have to consider that, yeah," Collins said of increasing Harvey's outings. "We have to make sure that this guy's ready to pitch. If we get in the postseason, we've got to have Matt Harvey ready to pitch. And I don't need him to have 15 days off. We've got to come up with a plan that's going to get him out there a little bit more."
Under the plan, relievers Sean Gilmartin, Erik Goeddel or Tim Stauffer could be paired with Harvey, whose regular turn on Monday was skipped to curtail his innings.
In his first season after Tommy John surgery, Harvey has logged 1712/3 innings. He and agent Scott Boras insist that doctors have issued a strict order of no more than 180 innings; the Mets maintain that no such hard cap was ever agreed upon.
The sides appear to have hashed out a compromise plan as the Mets hope to put the finishing touches on their first playoff run since 2006.
Said Collins: "We've talked to Matt enough times and he's on board with what we're thinking about doing."
Harvey has said he will be ready to pitch in the postseason, though uncertainty remains about any potential limits on his workload.
General manager Sandy Alderson has said that all regular-season plans with Harvey remain tentative, with decisions about his postseason usage to come later.