Timing is right for Matt Harvey's big-league debut

Buffalo Bisons pitcher Matt Harvey, a New York Buffalo Bisons pitcher Matt Harvey, a New York Mets prospect, works against the Toledo Mud Hens during the first inning. (July 16, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Matt Harvey is a perfect match for the major-league club he joined Monday: He and the Mets are coming off some really poor outings, and no one is expecting miracles out of either.

Harvey, the 2010 first-round draft pick out of the University of North Carolina, will make his big-league debut in Arizona on Thursday in large part because, with Johan Santana on the disabled list, the Mets basically have no one else. They are desperate, which made it important for the club to let him know as soon as he arrived at Citi Field that his start is only a beginning.

"We don't expect him to be perfect," said general manager Sandy Alderson, who spoke with the Connecticut resident Monday before he went out for his first bullpen session as a Met. "We expect that he'll take his turns in the rotation, he'll have to make some adjustments and this is all part of the continuing development process. He was ready to come here and obviously we've got a need at this point but there was a nice convergence of that."

There was some thought that Harvey was auditioning for a call-up last Monday when he pitched for Triple-A Buffalo, but he pitched poorly. He was even worse Saturday. Nonetheless, he got the call from Wally Backman, his minor-league manager, Sunday, telling him he had been promoted.

Maybe his first outing will be seen as a step toward making the Mets worth watching. The club likes his mid-90s fastball, his sharp curve, his improved changeup and his attitude.

"There's a fine line between being boastful and being very confident. This kid is very confident in what he can do and what he has to do," Terry Collins said. "There will be nights when his command will be off the charts and he'll say, 'Until they start making adjustments, I'll stay with my strengths' -- a la Johan Santana. His makeup reminds me of Johan Santana."

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But his call-up is being downplayed at every turn, including the fact that his media session Monday was in the small TV interview room rather than the large interview room.

"I can't do what I can't do. All I can do is go out and do the best I can and see what goes from there," Harvey said. "Minor adjustments are going to be made. I'm not going to change my whole repertoire.

"Last year, I went to Double A, had some struggles and figured it out. I went to Triple A, had some struggles and figured it out. I think I got to the point where I think I can do that."

Alderson said he is confident about a core of Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. "Are all of them going to turn out to be No. 1 pitchers in a rotation? Probably not," Alderson said. "So I think it's realistic to monitor the expectations."

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