Sandy Alderson hinted on Wednesday that the Mets spent more money on players this offseason that originally budgeted, part of his explanation for why the club has shed about $9.3 million in salary while making a flurry of trades before and after the July 31 deadline.

While insisting that he was not ordered to slash payroll, Alderson did not say that the savings would be directly used to bolster salaries for next season.

But he provided one reason for paring down, hinting at an agreement in which he was given additional resources this winter, with the understanding that salary could be cut if the team slipped from contention.

“I can tell you from an operational standpoint, I look at it this way,” Alderson said. “If I persuade the owner that it’s best to spend an extra 10 to 15 million dollars to go for it — but I also assure him that if it doesn’t work out I can move 9 or 10 or 12 million dollars — having actually done it gives me a better case going forward.”

The Mets began the season with payroll at around $155.1 million. Trades took $11.6 million off the books, though the acquisition of AJ Ramos in one of those deals brought aboard his $2.3 million salary.

Positive step for Harvey

Matt Harvey tossed three shutout innings in his minor-league rehab start for Class-A Brooklyn. The righthander threw 36 pitches, a bit short of the 40-50 that the Mets had projected, but he struck out the side in the third inning to conclude his outing.

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Harvey is hoping to return from a stress injury to his shoulder, fallout from offseason surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Extra bases

Alderson insisted that Seth Lugo’s DL stint is because of a shoulder impingement, not from concern about his elbow as sources told Newsday. Lugo has been pitching through a partial UCL tear. Sources said some concern as emerged that the conditions may be linked. Said Alderson: “This is about his shoulder.” . . . Noah Syndergaard’s next bullpen session will take place over the next three or four days. The righty is trying to return from a lat injury.