After spending more than a year living the life of a recovering patient, Mets ace Matt Harvey soon will take a major step back toward normalcy.
Though a precise end date has yet to be determined, Harvey soon will wrap up throwing his extended bullpen sessions, the closest he'll come to game action this season. Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said Harvey then will be treated like any other pitcher on staff when he begins an offseason regimen of rest, exercise and light throwing.
Harvey remains in line to resume throwing off the mound in early February, which would set him up to face batters in spring training. That will be about 16 months after Tommy John surgery to repair an injury that shortened his breakout 2013 campaign.
"Right now, there has been no setbacks," Warthen said before the Mets blew out the Reds, 14-5, Friday night. "The way he's throwing right now, I think he's a pretty happy man."
Though Harvey expressed his desire to face hitters in a competitive environment -- preferably in a major-league game -- team officials have long dismissed that idea. He has settled for a string of bullpen sessions designed to simulate a game, though he won't be facing any hitters.
The first of those sessions took place Thursday at the team's complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Warthen said Harvey came through it with no issues after throwing 50 pitches that were staggered over three simulated innings and separated by eight-minute breaks.
Harvey now will follow a schedule similar to a pitcher in a standard five-man rotation, treating the extended bullpen sessions as starts. "Now he'll be acting like that [session] is a game," Warthen said. "So you go into your full rotation stuff. You take a day off, throw a little bit on the side, take two days off and throw a sim game again."
Harvey is scheduled to throw his next extended bullpen session Tuesday at Citi Field. By then, Warthen expects Mets brass and Harvey to have met about when he will go into a typical offseason mode.
A firm shutdown date has yet to be set, according to team insiders, mostly because that decision will be made in part by Harvey. The Mets have been pleased with his physical progress and also want him to be mentally prepared to end his throwing program, which could occur near the end of the season. "We'll probably solidify all of this as we sit down and talk," Warthen said. "Harvey will be there Sunday and I'm sure we will all get together Monday and Tuesday and finalize everything."
According to Warthen, a desire exists for Harvey to progress beyond throwing only fastballs before concluding his rehab, though the righthander will be kept from throwing at 100 percent until spring training.
In early November, Harvey will begin playing catch twice a week, the beginning of a pitcher's normal offseason routine. But first he will be shut down to rest his arm. That's also common practice for any pitcher.
"He'll take a month off from throwing," Warthen said, "which we encourage all of our guys to do just to recover."
Notes & quotes: The Mets set season highs in homers and runs in their 14-5 victory over the Reds and tied their season high with 18 hits. Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera, Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda went deep for the Mets, who enjoyed their first five-homer night since Sept. 30, 2006.
David Wright went 4-for-5, tying a career high for hits one game after going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Granderson and d'Arnaud each had four RBIs. Herrera had three hits.
Terry Collins dropped Granderson from the second spot in the lineup to the sixth, and he ended an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI double in the first inning. He tacked on his 17th homer, a three-run blast in the sixth. "I've batted in every spot in the lineup over the course of my career," he said. "So to get moved up, down, middle, out, it's nothing new to me."
After needing his previous 23 games to rack up four RBIs, he did it in one night. "You hope it really jump-starts him," Collins said. "He's really struggled, he knows it and he's worked hard. To hit a home run like that I think is going to get him going."
Bartolo Colon (13-11) breezed through seven innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and a walk.
Pitching prospect Rafael Montero was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and will join the team Saturday. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Edgin rejoined the team, though neither was available to pitch Friday night. Both are battling elbow issues that required cortisone injections earlier this week. Collins expects both to be available Saturday . . . Daniel Murphy (right calf strain) participated in limited baseball activities . . . Vic Black (neck) remains on track to come off the disabled list Monday.