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Matt Harvey willing to accept innings limits

Mets ace Matt Harvey Speaks to media at

Mets ace Matt Harvey Speaks to media at Citi Field for the first time since the 2014 season ended. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy / Patrick E. McCarthy

The details of the plan have yet to take shape, and they likely won't come together until much closer to spring training. But that ambiguity didn't seem to matter for returning ace Matt Harvey.

Even though the Mets want to limit his innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Harvey said Wednesday that he's fine with any restrictions, so long as he's allowed to keep pitching if his team reaches the playoffs.

"Whatever needs to be done to get us there, I'm all for [it],'' said Harvey, whose starts likely will be skipped on occasion. "And whatever they decide for that whole process, I'm completely on board.''

At various points since August 2013, when he tore a ligament in his elbow, Harvey and the Mets have clashed about the speed of his rehab process. But the righthander struck a different tone on Wednesday.

"I'm going to be happy to throw the entire year,'' Harvey said after an appearance at the team's annual winter coat drive. "And whatever they decide, it's in the best interest of both the team and me moving forward. I can't wait for every five days again -- and I should be healthy for a full season.''

Harvey downplayed criticism about his off-the-field pursuits, which periodically have flared up as a point of contention among team execs and outsiders alike.

"Not saying I'm not going to go to a Rangers game or a Knicks game,'' he said. "But obviously, baseball mode has kicked in.''

Despite differences along the way, Harvey and the Mets appear to have found common ground as his return to action draws closer. Both want to avoid the shutdown scenario that infamously kept Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg from pitching in the 2012 playoffs.

Strasburg returned to action 12 months after undergoing elbow surgery and had been hampered by innings limits. By contrast, Harvey will be 17 months removed from the procedure by Opening Day, a distinction he touched upon more than once.

"Realistically, throwing 200 innings in the regular season is probably not likely,'' said Harvey, who considers the Mets a postseason contender. "But because of the 17th-month recovery time, you can kind of manage things a little bit differently than maybe Strasburg did.''

Exactly how many innings Harvey will be permitted to throw remains unclear. While general manager Sandy Alderson has said Harvey will have a "soft cap'' on his innings, he hasn't shared any specific limits.

Harvey and Alderson have yet to have more than a brief conversation about the matter, but the pitcher has a rough plan in his mind. He has been working out and throwing off flat ground six days a week, taking a break only on Sundays. By the middle of the month, he hopes to throw off the slope of the mound.

After spending January at agent Scott Boras' training facility in Southern California, Harvey wants to be ready to face hitters when he reports to spring training early on Feb. 1.

By the end of camp, Harvey hopes to begin throwing his slider for the first time since surgery.

Said Harvey: "Moving forward -- and trying to make the biggest impact I can towards this team next year -- will hopefully outshine the trouble through last year.''

Notes & quotes: The Mets may consider acquiring shortstop Everth Cabrera, according to a source, although there is some hesitation because of his off-field issues. The Padres non-tendered Cabrera, 28, who was an All-Star in 2013. His legal issues include a Biogenesis-related PED suspension in addition to an arrest on suspicion of DUI and a charge of resisting arrest . . . The Yankees announced they've agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Esmil Rogers to avoid arbitration. The Yankees also officially announced they have non-tendered outfielder Slade Heathcott and pitchers Jose Campos and David Huff.

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