JUPITER, Fla. — Mets ace Matt Harvey has been shut down for the remainder of spring training, casting doubt on whether he can make his Opening Day start because of a medical issue that the club has refused to disclose.
Aside from insisting that the issue is non-orthopedic in nature, general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins offered only shards of information regarding Harvey’s condition.
Alderson labeled the matter “a non-baseball medical issue that we have to address.”
“He had a symptom,” Alderson said on Monday after the Mets’ 3-1 loss to the Cardinals. “It was investigated, so we’re still in that process.”
Harvey, who turned 27 on Sunday, is entering his second full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery, but the Mets insisted that his medical condition does not stem from his elbow.
Harvey was excused from the game against the Cardinals so he could be examined by doctors. Initially, a team spokesman said Harvey still was scheduled to pitch on Tuesday against the Marlins, his final tuneup before the regular season. But after Monday’s game, the plans shifted.
Collins said the righthander had been scratched from Tuesday’s start with an issue that he said “popped up recently.” Although Collins said it’s possible that Harvey still will make his Opening Day start in Kansas City on Sunday night even without appearing in another exhibition game, he was noncommittal when asked about his level of concern.
“It’s hard to say right now,” Collins said. “I don’t know just yet. What I do know, we’re very lucky to have the pitching we’ve got. In case he can’t go, we’ll have somebody else ready.”
Alderson said it’s possible that Harvey will return to New York for further tests, though as of Monday afternoon, he remained in Florida.
“It’s a little early to attach any level of concern,” Alderson said. “We need to wait for more medical information before we decide if it’s of concern or grave concern or no concern.”
As for Opening Day, Alderson said it was too early in the process to begin planning for contingencies. Indeed, the Mets would have choices for a replacement, including Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard.
“I’m not getting into that,” Alderson said. “It’s way too premature for us to be discussing anything related to Opening Day. I understand Opening Day is not too far away, but we’re dealing with tomorrow, and we should know something more tomorrow or the next days. But right now, he’s not pitching tomorrow.”
The scant information provided regarding Harvey created fertile ground for speculation, though without offering further details, Alderson cautioned against assuming the worst.
“If he had to have a wisdom tooth pulled, he wouldn’t pitch tomorrow,” Alderson said. “So let’s not jump to conclusions here.”
Harvey had not complained of any medical issues after any of his starts during spring training. As the Mets wait for more clarity, Collins said lefty Sean Gilmartin likely will start in Harvey’s place on Tuesday.
For now, the Mets have shared only one piece of concrete information about what ails their star pitcher.
“It is not orthopedic,” Collins said. “His arm is fine.”