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NEW YORK -- New York Mets ace Matt Harvey said he's fine and will make his next scheduled start after leaving Saturday's game against the Miami Marlins with lower-back tightness in his right side.
"It's fine now," Harvey said. "I think it was after the last pitch in the seventh I kind of felt a little tightness kind of in my lower back, right on the hip area. It was a matter of a little alignment in the hips and as soon as I came in and they worked on it, it kind of popped right back into place."
Harvey believes the tightness flared up after he struck out Rob Brantly to end the seventh inning. He felt it during his at-bat in the seventh, when he singled to center, and hoped it would loosen up and his hips would pop back into place, but that didn't ocurr. According to Mets manager Terry Collins, while Harvey was at first base, he told first-base coach Tom Goodwin that his back was stiff.
The pitcher walked out to the mound to start the eighth inning and was followed by Collins and trainer Brian Chicklo. After a quick discussion on the mound, Collins elected to take Harvey out of the game. When Harvey arrived in the dugout, he pointed to his lower back to pitching coach Dan Warthen.
"I was fine to pitch, I could have stayed out there but obviously, I'm risking more injury and that wouldn't be good," Harvey said. "I'm ready to go for my next start, whether that's Thursday or Friday."
Collins said if he knew that Harvey had that pain, he might not have let him hit in the seventh inning.
"As soon as I heard that, that's a red flag," said Collins, who added the team will take every precaution necessary. "My goodness gracious, if there's one (player) certainly we don't need hurt it's Matt Harvey. He said he didn't know if it was his hip or his back. It was getting a little tight, it loosened up a little as he warmed up and I said 'I'm sorry, that will be enough for tonight.' He only had one more inning to go anyway."
Harvey said he's dealt with this issue before in college when he pitched for North Carolina, and it involves the hips getting out of line. He said it took little time for the team's trainers to help him get his body right. He did not undergo any tests after the game, and described the tightness as a "minor thing."
"Even when it came out and they worked on it in the eighth inning it was two minutes and it was back," Harvey said. "Obviously, it's frustrating knowing that an adjustment like that can be made that quickly."
He added: "Sometimes it happens. Unfortunately, it happened now. It hasn't happened for a while now. We know what we need to prevent that."
In what turned out to a 20-inning game, Harvey left with the game tied at 1-1. He gave up six hits and struck out six as he recorded a no-decision, his fourth in a row and eighth in his past nine outings. Surprisingly, the lowly Marlins have given Harvey fits this year as he entered the game with a 4.35 ERA against them in two starts. Saturday, he had much better luck, although he lamented that one run.
"Obviously, I'm frustrated with the run because if I didn't (yield it) then the game would have been over a long time ago," Harvey said. "It was a tough loss for all of us."
Harvey's next start lines up to be Thursday against St. Louis, but the team easily could push him back to Friday against the Cubs to give him an extra day of rest. Fellow starter Shaun Marcum pitched eight innings in relief on Saturday and he could pitch on normal rest Thursday as well.