Matt Harvey has spent six years in the major leagues and will turn 30 years old on March 27, but the Los Angeles Angels pitcher said he felt as if he was making his first big league start on Wednesday.
Harvey gave up one run and two hits over three innings against the Colorado Rockies in his first spring training outing with his new team. The right-hander, slowed this year because of a glute strain, threw 44 pitches. His fastball reached 95.6 mph.
“There were definitely some nerves,” Harvey said. “I texted a few people before the game. I said, ‘Man, I feel like I’m 21 years old again, starting my baseball career in the big leagues. It was fun. It was good to finally get out there. I was pretty bummed about missing those three days early in camp. I think after today, I’m pretty much caught up.”
“Overall, it was a good outing,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said.
Harvey was 7-9 with a 4.94 ERA in 28 starts and four relief appearances last season with the New York Mets and Cincinnati. He signed an $11 million, one-year contract with the Angels this offseason.
“It’s the first time I’ve been in Arizona for spring, being with a new team for spring training,” Harvey said. “I think finally being healthy and throwing the ball the way I want to, it feels like I’m starting over again. It’s kind of nice having that feeling.”
Harvey retired the Rockies in order in the first, then gave up a leadoff double to Trevor Story in the second on a curveball. Story scored on Raimel Tapia’s sacrifice fly. Tony Wolters also hit a lead off double off Harvey in the third.
Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy called for more curves, a pitch that Harvey said he hasn’t felt comfortable throwing in the past. That may change. Harvey was happy with his slider, too.
“Once that starts working, that’s how I’ve had my success in the past,” Harvey said. “Being able to work that in, hopefully the curveball catches up and we’ll have a couple more looks.”
He did peek at the radar gun readings on the stadium scoreboard a few times.
“It’s still early,” Harvey said. “I think getting more comfortable and being free and easy and letting yourself go and not be so mechanical, then things will start coming out a little easier.”
NOTES: LHP Andrew Heaney is to make his second start on Friday. He had missed a scheduled outing because of elbow inflammation. … Justin Upton (knee tendinitis) was on track to get into a game soon, Ausmus said. … Two-way player Shohei Ohtani is still limited to soft toss as he rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery. There’s no timetable for the next step. “I just want him to stay on the program we have,” Ausmus said. “He’s a new case study because he’s a pitcher who is also a designated hitter. We don’t want to risk either parts of that career.” Ohtani was expected to be able to hit this year and pitch in 2020. “I think of them, the hitting program and pitching program, as two separate programs,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. … Ausmus learned how to say “good morning” from the Japanese media on Wednesday. … Ausmus turns 50 in April but he’s feeling even older these days. “I played with Tony Gwynn, and played against his son,” Ausmus said. “I played with Cecil Fielder, I played against his son. Now I managed Torii Hunter and now I’m managing his son (Torii Hunter Jr.). I’m getting up there.”