SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) After speaking with doctors, agent Scott Boras concluded New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey pitched since spring training with decreased sensation in his fingertips.
Harvey had surgery July 18 to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of nerves in the area between the neck and armpit, after going 4-10 in 17 starts with a 4.86 ERA. That was more than two runs per game above his previous major league high.
While Harvey's fastball velocity dropped only slightly, by 1 mph to 95 mph, he repeatedly said he was working on changes to his mechanics. He adjusted his arm angle and the rotation of his lower half. Mets manager Terry Collins cited a lack of command with Harvey's breaking balls.
''As the season went on, he complained of the fact that command of his pitches was not nearly the same,'' Boras said Wednesday at the general managers' annual meeting.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson says the 27-year-old right-hander will be ready for spring training. Boras said Dr. Robert Thompson, who performed the operation, explained what Harvey went through.
''You don't really notice or think to notice that the sensation in your fingertips is dull. Only when you get that full-fledged tingling do you know something's wrong,'' Boras said. ''It will affect something about your release point, where you don't have the same sensation you do normally.''
Harvey, who missed the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery, is 29-28 with a 2.94 ERA in four big league seasons. Boras said he visited Harvey in New York recently and expects him to be at full strength next year.
''There's nothing about shoulders, elbows or anything,'' the agent said. ''It's just really getting that nerve free and clear so that it cannot be impacted by the muscle.''
At past MLB meetings, Boras used metaphors involving supermarket aisles to describe the Mets' spending - ''fruits and nuts'' in 2011 vs. ''freezer section'' in 2012 vs. ''ready foods'' in 2014. New York boosted payroll from about $110 million in 2015 to roughly $150 million this year, so Boras switched to different imagery as he spoke in the sun-lit courtyard of a hotel with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop.
''To finish the lap in the pool, you've always got to swim in the deep end to get back to the shallow end, and the deep end is a place now that the Mets are regularly visiting, and I think they've got a good chance of completing their lap,'' he said. ''I've kind of taken it to the resort dynamic.''