VIERA, Fla. - Matt Harvey is scheduled to start against the Cardinals Friday in Jupiter. But a foreboding weather forecast could force the Mets to change that, even if Terry Collins would prefer not to.
"This guy can't live in a glass house,'' Collins said Thursday. "The first day he pitches [in the regular season] has a chance to be not very nice. We can't keep pushing him back. He won't pitch until July.''
But, Collins conceded, "I don't know what to say except we'll wait to see what the conditions are. If it's sloppy, he won't pitch.''
Harvey is scheduled to make his season debut April 9 in Washington.
Niese, Colon throw
The chance of rain prompted the Mets to scratch Jon Niese from Thursday night's scheduled start against the Nationals. Instead, Niese faced Bartolo Colon in a 10 a.m. intrasquad game in Port St. Lucie.
Niese and Colon threw to David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, Travis d'Arnaud and various pitchers who were practicing bunting. Cuddyer, who has five home runs, went deep off Colon.
Prospect Matt Bowman replaced Niese against Washington and threw five shutout innings in the Mets' 8-3 victory. "Very impressive,'' Collins said.
It did not rain.
Wilmer Flores, out since fouling a ball off his left foot on Sunday, returned to the lineup and went 1-for-3. "I felt it a little bit . . . but I feel great,'' he said . . . Matt Reynolds, who is batting .378, had a pinch-hit home run and a double. Matt den Dekker also homered . . . Jeurys Familia (6.43 ERA) gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning . . . Daniel Murphy (hamstring) ran for the first time since getting injured March 19.