Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 3/6/12

New York Mets top pitching prospect Matt Harvey entered last night’s Grapefruit League Opener in the third inning and tossed two scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals.  While Harvey did not allow a run during his Spring debut he lacked command of his fastball; walking three batters and plunking another of the eight he faced.

After retiring the first batter he faced to start the fourth, Harvey allowed back-to-back walks to Rick Ankiel and Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper before drilling ex-Met Jesus Flores with a pitch to load the bases. Harvey was able to escape the inning unscathed by inducing Xavier Paul to ground into an inning-ending double play. Following his outing, the 22-year-old spoke with reporters and according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, said the following:

Photo taken by Michael Baron

I had a good first inning, and I just got behind and tried to nitpick in the second inning. But it was good. I got out of the inning. I had some good defense behind me.

I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel nervous at all. I think warming up, a little bit maybe some jitters. But it was more excitement, though. Like I’ve said last time, I just try to bring that in and use it toward energy. I was able to do that tonight.”

Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters that as Harvey gets more comfortable, he believes he will get better:

I think as we get into this, and he gets more comfortable, you’ll see better. I just think he was nervous. You worry about being in the middle of the plate. I’m sure he’s trying to keep the ball down. But he’s still got that good breaking ball. He’s just got to get a little better command of it.”

Even with a dominant Spring, I don’t see anyway Harvey makes the club from the onset unless injuries befall one or two of the teams starters.  Of course, the discussion becomes moot if the righty can’t show more control than he did on Monday evening.  But even with a March for the ages some seasoning in the minors should be welcomed for the right hander.

 

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