CHICAGO - Matt Harvey plans to start Game 5 of the NLCS -- if there is one -- despite a bruise on his pitching arm from a line drive in Game 1 that has gotten worse instead of better and is worrying Terry Collins.
"Good to go," a team spokesman said after Harvey played catch Monday at Wrigley Field.
When asked how Harvey looked playing catch, pitching coach Dan Warthen said, "Very handsome."
Warthen added that his concern level about Harvey not starting Game 5 is "none."
Collins was more concerned and less whimsical after seeing how the bruise on Harvey's triceps had "swelled up" since Saturday, when Harvey was struck by Dexter Fowler's line drive in the sixth inning. Harvey pitched into the eighth in the Mets' 4-2 victory.
"Who is going to pitch Game 5? We don't know yet," Collins said, although with a 2-0 lead in the NLCS, the Mets could avoid any uncertainty by winning the next two nights and advancing to the World Series.
"He's pretty sore and pretty swelled up," Collins said. "He, as we sit here today, is a go. But that could certainly change in the next couple of days. He's on his way here, I think now, to get some treatment. But he was -- I mean, I was pretty surprised at how swelled up it was yesterday. So we certainly are going to keep a really close eye on it the next couple of days."
Jacob deGrom will start Game 3 Tuesday night and Steven Matz will go in Game 4 Wednesday night. Game 5, if needed, will be played on Thursday night.
If Harvey can't start, Collins listed Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese as potential replacements.
"We don't know yet," Collins said. "We've got them. We obviously have alternatives with Bartolo and Jon. So if we need to put a spot starter in there, we certainly have them."
Colon last started on Sept. 29, Niese on Sept. 21.
Collins said on Sunday that Harvey had the imprint from the stitches on the ball on his arm.
"When you have swelling, it doesn't matter how big it is, it's just there," Collins said Monday. "Any time you have swelling, it leads to stiffness. So as stiff as he was yesterday, we're going to be careful. I don't think it's going to affect him down the road, but down the road is still three days away. So we'll just have to see how he is. I think the big time will be tomorrow, because that would be a day that he wants to throw anyways, so we'll have to make our judgments how he feels after tomorrow."
Harvey allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings on Saturday night. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out nine. After getting hit by Fowler's ball, Harvey recovered to throw out the Cubs' speedy leadoff hitter and went on to pitch 21/3 more innings.
"His arm is -- actually it might have been better when he pitched, just because it kept it stretched out instead of putting ice on it and contracting right away," Warthen said. "It might have been beneficial that he was able to continue to throw and keep that thing stretched out."
With David Lennon
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