FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) Matt Harvey allowed three hits over four scoreless innings for his second strong start following elbow surgery, and the New York Mets lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-3 Monday.
Hours after the Mets learned Zack Wheeler likely will need Tommy John surgery, Harvey made his third appearance since elbow ligament-replacement surgery in October 2013. He struck out three and walked none.
Harvey retired six straight batters, striking out three, in his spring training debut against Detroit on March 6, then allowed two runs and six hits over 2 2-3 innings versus Miami five days later.
''I knew the pitch count was going to go up a little higher and the workload was going to increase,'' Harvey said. ''Obviously, we tried to go three (innings) last time and just didn't feel that great, but this time was pretty successful. Around 50 pitches or so through four, so that was definitely a positive. I felt great until the last pitch, so we're moving in a good direction.''
He faced a Red Sox lineup that included Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino.
''The big thing was trying to work on my stuff and not worry too much about who I was facing or situations like that,'' Harvey said. ''Today was fun being out there and facing the starting lineup,. and it came out pretty good.''
Red Sox manager John Farrell sounded impressed.
''Any time you know that a guy has come back from what he's gone through - anyone returning from Tommy John to see the power and shape of those secondary pitches, he's a heck of a pitcher.''
Mookie Betts doubled and tripled for the Red Sox, raising his average to .435 with three doubles and two triples.
''He's put up good at-bats against very good pitching,'' Farrell said.
Doubles by Michael Cuddyer and Anthony Recker, and a single by John Mayberry Jr. gave the Mets a 2-0 lead in the second against Joe Kelly, who allowed three runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Matt Spring homered in the sixth for Boston and doubled in the eighth. The 30-year-old has played in 647 minor league games dating to 2004 without making his big league debut. Spring replaced Ryan Hanigan in the lineup.
''Guy comes in camp and he's got No. 81 hanging in his locker and he knows his place in the organization,'' Farrell said. ''But today is a day he'll certainly remember and rightfully so.''
Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly walked off the mound with two outs in the third inning because of a sore biceps in his pitching arm.
''It was time to get him out of the game,'' Farrell said. ''We'll have a chance to re-evaluate him tomorrow and see what treatment he might need going forward.''
Kelly, who allowed three runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings.
''As the game progressed it got worse than I thought it was,'' Kelly said.
He said he's had touches of biceps tendinitis in the past.
''It usually doesn't last too long,'' Kelly said.
Red Sox OF Rusney Castillo is just about ready to return from an oblique injury.
''He's projected to be game ready by Wednesday,'' Farrell said. ''He's passed every baseball physical test that we've put in front of him to date.''
After playing back-to-back days on Florida's west coast the Mets return home to Port St. Lucie for a home game Tuesday against the Miami Marlins.
The Red Sox host the Atlanta Braves. Clay Buchholz is to start for the Red Sox against Shelby Miller.