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Bruce Bochy loves Matt Harvey but won't disclose NL All-Star starter

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy sits in

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy sits in the dugout before a game against the against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (June 9, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

SAN FRANCISCO - When it comes to Matt Harvey's chances of starting the All-Star Game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy Monday offered no hints about his decision.

"I can't really share because that's done as far as announcing the starter once I get there,'' said Bochy, the National League skipper for the All-Star Game at Citi Field next Tuesday. "And I can't say this game's going to play a big part of it. I know which way I'm leaning. I'll leave it at that.''

Even as Bochy played down the significance of Harvey's start Monday night against the Giants, there were signs that the righthander's bid to start the game has started to gain steam.

The Mets officially cleared one hurdle that would have impacted Harvey's ability to start.

Manager Terry Collins announced Monday that the team will go to a four-man rotation for the remainder of the first half. With that adjustment, Harvey will pitch Saturday in Pittsburgh instead of Sunday, sidestepping rules that would have limited his participation in the Midsummer Classic. Now it appears that only a heavy workload Saturday would hurt his chances of starting.

"We're all very, very excited for him that he's on the team,'' Collins said. "If there was a question of whether or not he was going to be used, if Saturday night he throws 115, 120, he probably won't pitch Tuesday.''

Otherwise, Collins said he would have no problem with the 24-year-old starting his first All-Star Game, an honor that would come in his first full big- league season.

Said Collins: "I would only have an issue if I don't think he's ready to pitch in a game like that.''

Bochy acknowledged that he's aware of the hype building around Harvey, who would be just the third Mets pitcher to start an All-Star Game and the first to do it at his home park.

"This kid's had a special year,'' said Bochy, who will announce the NL starter Sunday. "And I know he's from New York. All that's been discussed, but I'll just leave it at that for now.''

Bochy's first live look at Harvey this season came Monday night and perhaps it wasn't a great first impression: Harvey gave up a two-run homer in the first to Buster Posey. However, Bochy has kept an eye on Harvey from a distance, praising him for his "tremendous stuff.''

"We all know about his great fastball but his other pitches he throws, too, he's commanding them,'' Bochy said, "and I think sometimes it's just a matter of a young player getting settled in.''

Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw appears to be Harvey's primary competition for the NL start. However, even Kershaw threw his support behind giving Harvey the ball at Citi Field.

"He should,'' Kershaw told Monday. "There's no reason, especially if it's in New York, that he shouldn't start. That's what the fans will want. I've got no problem with that.''

Kershaw leads the NL in ERA (1.89), walks and hits per nine innings pitched (.904) and innings (1381/3). But Harvey leads in strikeouts (141) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.3) and is second behind Kershaw in WHIP (.911) and third in ERA (2.27).

Harvey's 2.48 ERA in his first 28 starts is the lowest since 1921. He will join Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Dwight Gooden as the only pitchers in Mets history to make the All-Star team in their first full season. "You get special arms like this every so often," Bochy said. "He's emerged as one of the best pitchers in the game. They've got a good one there.''

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