NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey keeps saying he wants to pitch in an MLB game this season.
Now the New York Mets might keep him from pitching in any kind of game before spring training.
Describing a setback suffered this week by Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner as a "cautionary story for others," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that he already has talked to Harvey about slowing down the ace's own recovery from Tommy John surgery.
While no firm decision has been made, Alderson said the Mets and Harvey plan to discuss whether to further limit his activity between now and the end of the season.
Alderson has never fully ruled out allowing Harvey to pitch for the Mets in 2014, but he has long said he doesn't expect it to happen. When Harvey began a throwing program two weeks ago, however, Alderson suggested the Mets could have him pitch in the instructional league and/or in the Arizona Fall League.
On Tuesday, he said the Mets might instead prefer to limit Harvey to throwing bullpen sessions.
"The question is whether to truncate [the process in 2014] and whether just throwing bullpens is enough," Alderson said.
Hefner had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28 of last year, about two months before Harvey underwent the procedure. Hefner had progressed to throwing in minor league games, making six appearances, but he suffered a setback in his last start and was diagnosed Monday with a reinjury to the ligament in his right elbow. He might undergo reconstructive surgery again.
Alderson acknowledged that what happened with Hefner is rare and wouldn't necessarily apply to Harvey's situation. At the same time, what happened with Hefner has given the Mets another chance to convince Harvey to slow things down.
"My sense is that Matt will at least take this into account, as we will," said Alderson, who already has had an initial conversation with Harvey on the subject. "My sense is he's reassessing."
Harvey progressed from simply playing catch to throwing from the slope of the mound last week, and he remains at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.