JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Bartolo Colon, not Matt Harvey, has been picked to start the New York Mets' opener at Washington on April 6.
Harvey is returning from elbow ligament-replacement surgery that has sidelined him since August 2013. Colon was 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA last year and at 41 will become the oldest opening-day starting pitcher in the major leagues since April 2006, when 43-year-old Jamie Moyer was on the mound for Seattle and 42-year-old Randy Johnson for the New York Yankees.
''It's just one start,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said Monday. ''I know it's a big deal to a lot of people. To me it's not. It's one of 32 starts. You go back and look at what Bart did all season long, he earned it.''
Collins said he decided not to start Harvey because of the long layoff.
''He is our ace,'' Collins said. ''We know that. He knows it.''
Colon will be making his seventh opening-day start after taking the mound for Cleveland (2000-02) and the Angels (2004-06). He will become the Mets' oldest opening-day starting pitcher at 41 years, 317 days, topping Tom Glavine at 41 years, 7 days in 2007.
NL Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom is slated to start the second game and Harvey the third. DeGrom lines up to start the home opener against Philadelphia on April 13.
''I thought Jake deserved it,'' Collins said. ''I thought he deserved the chance to pitch a big game.''