Matt Harvey is feeling great, pushing his rehab schedule as hard as he can

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Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal caught up with Matt Harvey and updates us on his rehab. Short version: everything is feeling great. Almost too great:

Harvey says he has progressed from rehabbing his arm to regular upper-body workouts, and he hopes to begin playing catch by the end of February. He believes he is going as fast, and doing as well, as the rehab schedule allows. He says he has felt no pain, that there have been no setbacks, and that his rehab coordinator at the Hospital for Special Surgery has had to slow the recovery timetable for its own sake.

Harvey wants to begin throwing in February and, if he had his way, would pitch in 2014. He knows he doesn’t have his way, however, and that the Mets are not going to risk several years of their future with Harvey at the top of their rotation in the interests of having him pitch some, in all likelihood, meaningless games this September.

Also worth nothing that in recent years a lot of pitchers, especially younger ones, have been quoted as feeling fantastic in the months after their Tommy John surgery, and are almost surprised that they don’t have pain and all of that. But what most of them learn is that pain is not the issue at all. It’s all about touch and feel over pitches. That’s the reason the timetable for Tommy John is what it is, not just the actual physical recovery.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.