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Matt Harvey makes season debut Thursday with possible rain in forecast

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey throws a bullpen session

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey throws a bullpen session on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 during a spring training workout in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Matt Harvey’s first regular-season start since July 4 may not come under ideal weather conditions. When the Mets face the Braves Thursday night, temperatures are expected to dip into the mid 40s with the possibility of showers.

But Mets manager Terry Collins doesn’t think it will be a problem for Harvey, who showed improvement in spring training, as he prepared for his return from surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.

“I think Matt’s ready to pitch in any condition right now,” Collins said on Wednesday. “He just got better and better as the spring went along. To be honest, I’d like to get him out there tomorrow night. I think it’s real important that we get these guys in some kind of routine.”

The Mets intend to be vigilant with Harvey, who posted a 5.89 ERA this spring, though his fastball returned to life and his results improved near the end of camp.

“I think you have to be observant, I think you have to be sensitive to his situation and mindful of his recent history,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “But that’s going to be true for most of the guys in our rotation.”

Outfield update

Centerfielder Juan Lagares (left oblique strain) is expected to play in a rehab game on Monday, Alderson said. If all goes well, Lagares could be promoted a few days after his rehab assignment.

Michael Conforto is currently occupying Lagares’ spot as the Mets’ fourth outfielder and backup centerfielder.

Outfielder Brandon Nimmo’s strained hamstring is “proceeding well,” Alderson said, though he has been slowed by a bruised hand.

Jennings added

The Mets signed veteran outfielder Desmond Jennings to a minor-league deal. The once-heralded prospect has been assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas where he’ll give the team centerfield depth.

Jennings, 30, hit .195 with the Reds before his release at the end of spring training. Injuries have slowed Jennings his last two seasons with the Rays, where he hit just .222 in 93 games in that span.


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