Despite complications that wound up derailing his season, Matt Harvey said Monday that he has no reservations about his rehab from surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.
But the Mets righthander regrets pushing through discomfort, a function of severely weakened muscles in the back of his right shoulder, that pitching coach Dan Warthen said was fallout from offseason surgery.
“It was pretty uncomfortable for a while,” Harvey said Monday, when he threw for the first time since landing on the disabled list. “So I think me wanting to be out there as much as I possibly can and fighting through some uncomfortable times, it’s my fault for doing that. I should have said a lot more earlier and maybe I would have missed a start or two here or there. But wanting to be out there more and not miss any more time, I kind of pushed through it. And then, obviously, it didn’t go well.”
Harvey, 28, did not offer a timeline for pitching in a game but insisted that returning sometime this season remains part of the plan. He has been on the DL since June 16 with a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder.
The diagnosis came after Harvey’s last start, when he barely cracked 90 mph on the radar gun. He went 4-3 with a 5.25 ERA in 13 starts, during which he looked like a diminished version of his former self.
According to Warthen, doctors discovered an underlying reason for those poor performances. Once he was on the disabled list, it was discovered that the muscles behind Harvey’s left shoulder were twice the size of those behind his right shoulder.
“It totally atrophied,” Warthen told Newsday earlier this month. “He didn’t have the strength to maintain, so his bullpens wouldn’t be good. The first inning would be good and then all of a sudden that thing wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t fire. That’s been the whole thing. We’ve been building that back up the whole time.”
After landing on the disabled list, Harvey underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy. After a few weeks, he started a shoulder-strengthening program to correct what had become an imbalance, one that he had sensed.
“As the season went on and the innings kept increasing, the muscles were just getting kind of worn down,” Harvey said. “I think the break, and getting back to strengthening the back of the shoulder and that area, was definitely beneficial.”
Harvey chalked up the issues to reverberations from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, which is relatively uncommon among pitchers.
“The performance wasn’t there, but I was still getting stronger start to start,” he said. “You can’t really anticipate what a season will bring until you get out there and throw 50, 60 innings. Maybe if I had taken a little bit more time, I don’t know. But you can’t predict those things going into the season. I wanted to be out there as much as I could, but it didn’t quite work out that way.”