Matt Harvey hopes to start throwing on February 22

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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is a severe long shot to throw a pitch in the majors this season, but he continues to make progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, Harvey said Thursday that he’s aiming to begin throwing on February 22. That’s just two weeks from today.

“They said I should be able to start throwing four months after the surgery and that’s Feb. 22, and I haven’t had any setbacks,” Harvey, who had elbow surgery in October, told The Post.“I can’t wait. Even if it’s 10 feet, I just want to pick up a ball. As if right now, I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

During an appearance on WFAN yesterday, Harvey said that his rehab is going “really smoothly” and that he recently resumed regular weight training. He plans to report to spring training along with the other pitchers and catchers on February 15.

Harvey continues to hint at the possibility of pitching for the Mets before the end of the season, but MetsBlog notes that GM Sandy Alderson told a group of season-ticket holders Thursday that it’s unlikely he’ll pitch for the club this year even if they are in a pennant race. The typical recovery time from Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months. Harvey had his surgery on October 22 last year.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.