The Mets won’t push back Matt Harvey’s season debut after all

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Mets manager Terry Collins said back in December that right-hander Matt Harvey might not make his season debut until the team’s home opener on April 13, but it appears that there has been a change of plans.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Collins said today that the current plan calls for Harvey to start one of the team’s first five games. Limiting his workload after Tommy John surgery was one of the motivations behind potentially pushing back his season debut, but Collins said today they are more inclined to give him five-inning starts at times as opposed to skipping him in the rotation altogether.

As for how many innings Harvey will throw in 2015, don’t look for a Stephen Strasburg-like shutdown. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this week that he could log 200 innings “including the playoffs.” Hey, he’s an optimist.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).