NEW YORK — Mets ace Matt Harvey took the next step in his rehabilitation from right elbow surgery, increasing his throwing distance Friday from 90 to 120 feet.
Harvey said his target date for throwing off a mound is June 10.
“Any sort of progress we’re making — obviously right now it’s being able to move back and throw from a greater distance — is a step in the right direction,” he said.
The right-hander said he makes 20 throws at a time from the rehab distance but needs many more as he warms up. While he feels ready to ramp up the rehab and would like to pitch in a major league game this season, Harvey understands the journey back is a long one and he is following the protocol.
Harvey had Tommy John surgery Oct. 22, about two months after New York said the first-time All-Star had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. Recovery from that injury generally takes 12 to 18 months.
The plan is for Harvey is to throw at 120 feet for three weeks then move back to 150 feet off flat ground before he throws from the mound.
"The process is right where it needs to be and I'm extremely happy with how everything feels and how everything is going," he said. "I'm excited to move forward."
Also, the Mets recalled shortstop Wilmer Flores from Triple-A Las Vegas and inserted him into the starting lineup for their series opener against Philadelphia.
"Don't mistake it, we hope that Wilmer gives us some offence but he's got to catch the baseball, too," manager Terry Collins said.
Flores, who was signed as a shortstop but played the other three infield positions the last two years, has committed seven errors in 25 games at shortstop with Las Vegas this year. Collins said Flores' problem has been throwing the ball to first base.
Omar Quintanilla was designated for assignment to make room for Flores.
The Mets hope Flores can lift their sagging offence, which hadn't scored in 23 innings entering Friday and was ranked near the bottom of the NL in slugging percentage (.332) and on-base percentage (.300). The Mets were tied with San Diego for the league worst in homers with 20.
The 22-year-old Flores was batting .307 with five homers and 25 RBIs for the 51s.
First baseman Lucas Duda was out of the lineup Friday because of the stomach flu.
Starting shortstop Ruben Tejada is hitting .183 with two extra-base hits and 21 strikeouts in 82 at-bats. Quintanilla batted .207 with one extra-base hit in 29 at-bats.