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Matt Harvey supports Mets naming Bartolo Colon Opening Day starter

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Even though Matt Harvey is the unquestioned ace of the New York Mets pitching staff, the right-hander insists he’s 100 percent behind the decision to tab veteran Bartolo Colon as the Opening Day starter for the team’s April 6 game against the Washington Nationals.

“Bartolo has got that covered,” Harvey said Tuesday, via the New York Post.

Harvey is penciled in to start the Mets’ third game of the season and will later pitch in the team’s second home game on April 14, with Jacob deGrom toeing the rubber at Citi Field for the home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.

On both accounts, Harvey thinks Colon earned the season-opening start with his performance last season and added that deGrom similarly deserves the home opener.

“Obviously, Bartolo throwing 200 innings and getting 15 wins is well-deserving of Opening Day. And we know all that Jacob did last year, he obviously deserves Opening Day at home. I’m happy to be throwing in the first series and extremely happy about throwing at home.”

Harvey, coming off Tommy John Surgery in October 2013 and missing the entire 2014 season, says he’s grateful just to be on the mound again after such a lengthy layoff.

“For not throwing at all last year, I’m happy to be playing again,” said Harvey. “So whatever is decided when I get to throw, I will be all excited and all for.”

Harvey’s return this spring training after rehabilitation couldn’t be going better. He is 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in four starts and currently is riding a 9 2/3 scoreless-innings streak with two more spring training starts on the docket.

“Everything feels good,” he said, via an ESPN report. “I think the big thing now is getting from 60 pitches to closer to 100. Obviously the weather is going to be warmer down here than it is up there. So getting a little bit extra prepared is something we definitely want to do in the next two starts.”

Even though Harvey and the Mets have butted heads in the past, it looks like the time away from playing between the lines has given the pitcher a renewed appreciation for being able to simply play baseball that has translated to playing the role of a good soldier.

“For me, I’m just excited to be playing,” Harvey said about the team’s season-opening series against the Nationals. “That’s an important series for us, obviously, opening up the season.”

Meanwhile, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged that Harvey’s placement in the location was partly based on improving ticket sales, so there’s that.

(photo credit: AP)