There is a reason why New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey is optimistic about returning from an elbow injury for next season's opener.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson shed some light on the pitcher's self-prognosis after Harvey tweeted, "I may be done this year, but I will be back next year for April 1."
Alderson said Harvey, who was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, spoke with Roy 'Doc' Halladay and was told that the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher also had a torn ligament in his elbow but never repaired it.
"I think anybody would be in denial to some extent," Alderson told ESPN New York radio. "And so, typically, in these situations where denial is part of one's reaction, the passage of time usually helps with that.
"The plan here is we're going to wait a couple of weeks, at least. I think the doctors also believe that we should wait a couple of weeks, three weeks, and then test it -- see if he's hurting, see if he's not hurting."
Harvey is facing the prospect of Tommy John surgery, which would sideline him for most of 2014.
The National League's All-Star Game starter was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 26 starts for the Mets this season.
KEMP NEARING RETURN
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp ran the bases Tuesday for the first time in five weeks.
Out since spraining his left ankle, Kemp could start a minor-league rehab assignment as early as Thursday,
"I was a little skeptical, but it turned out to be really, really good," Kemp told the L.A. Times about the run. "It felt good. It was pretty fun to get out there and run. It's been a while."
The Dodgers outfield will get crowded with Kemp's eventual return as Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have played regularly.
Manager Don Mattingly hinted that all four would take turns sitting on the bench, which did not go over well with Kemp.
"I'm a centre fielder," Kemp said. "That's my role, to play centre field every day. I don't know why people keep asking me what role I'm going to play.
"I want to play every day. I don't like to sit out of games. I like to play. I like to give my team a chance to win and think I can do that."
HEYWARD EYES PLAYOFFS
Jason Heyward joined his Atlanta Braves teammates Tuesday night for the first time since undergoing surgery for two fractures in his jaw last week.
Injured by a 90 mph fastball thrown by New York Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese on Aug. 21, Heyward is upbeat about his recovery and is targeting the post-season for his return.
"My mindset is to get back active as soon as possible," Heyward told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He added: "I don't know how long it's going to take to heal. But I know as soon as possible I'd like to be playing baseball again."
Luckily, Heyward didn't have to have his jaw wired shut. It's being stabilized with rubber bands that are attached to braces on his teeth.
Heyward accepted Niese's apology, sent through his agent, and asked for the pitcher to autograph a ball and glove in return.
"Something to remember," Heyward said. "I know I won't forget having a broken jaw."
ESPINOSA TRADE BAIT?
Danny Espinosa's time with the Washington Nationals may be over.
The club is deciding whether to call up the struggling infielder in September when rosters expand, although a source told MLB.com that he will not play another big-league game this season if the team cannot trade him.
Espinosa, currently playing for the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, has been dealing with injuries for the last 12 months, including a torn rotator cuff, right wrist problems and a thumb injury.
"The Danny that we all know has the major-league tools to play shortstop and second base in the big leagues," Scott Boras, his agent, said. "Every park that I go into will ask me about Danny. They want to know what he is doing. So the guy has real value. The thing he has to go through is get an approach that will help him become very consistent (at the plate)."
Espinosa appeared in 44 games this season, hitting a lowly .158 with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
The Atlanta Braves activated infielder Dan Uggla from the 15-day disabled list after he underwent LASIK eye surgery Aug. 13 ... The Kansas City Royals reached an agreement with veteran first baseman Carlos Pena on a minor-league contract ... Athletics pitcher Pat Neshek cleared waivers and was assigned to Oakland's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento ... The Tampa Bay Rays released right-hander Cory Wade from Triple-A Durham after granting his request.