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Collins: It Would Not Shock Me If Harvey Is Next Season's Opening Day Starter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A lot of people are criticizing Matt Harvey for choosing to delay possible surgery on his ailing right elbow.

His manager, however, isn't one of them.

Speaking to WFAN's Mike Francesa on Wednesday evening, the Mets' skipper sounded extremely optimistic about the notion of his ace right-hander not only recovering during the offseason, but also also being a major contributor next season.

"I've had enough conversations with Matt to get his side of it and I think, obviously, he will put all the time necessary to make sure all the areas are strengthened up before he starts the throwing program, so that when he does he knows he can do what they ask him to do, and that is he's gotta somehow simulate some adrenaline and test that thing, test the elbow," Collins said.

Mets manager Terry Collins

When asked by Francesa if Harvey's returning next season is truly realistic, Collins said it's hard to question his ace's resolve.

"This guy showed up in spring training and he had a goal. He wanted to show people he was one of the best pitchers in the game. Then when the season started his goal changed to 'hey look, I want to start the All-Star Game.' He's met both those goals. I don't put anything past this guy," Collins said. "I think he's bound and determined to avoid surgery. I think he will do what it takes to make sure his arm is healthy and strong before he does it.

"I told one of the coaches today: 'guys I would not be afraid to have someone bet me that Matt Harvey will be the opening day pitcher,' because I think he will be," Collins added.

Collins said if Harvey has no setbacks during the offseason, spring training next season will be a huge indicator of what he can possibly be during the 2014 season. He said the coaches will monitor Harvey's workload, give him more bullpen sessions perhaps than starts and if he gets through all of that unscathed, as soon as the weather warms up, he'll let Harvey pitch.

Earlier in the day Wednesday, Harvey did a very strange interview with Dan Patrick on "The Dan Patrick Show."

The radio host asked the 2013 NL All-Star Game starter about the slight tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and the pitcher discussed his decision to "go the route of rehabbing."

That wasn't the awkward part.

"Today, I'm here talking about Qualcomm," Harvey said 1:26 into the interview, "and hoping that I can help them out as much as possible."

Mike Francesa on Matt Harvey

When Patrick broached the subject of Tommy John surgery following Harvey's statement about the company, Harvey quickly shot the radio host down and made it clear that he's on the show to promote Qualcomm.

"I did all those answers yesterday, and maybe at the appropriate time we can talk a little bit more about that, but obviously today is about Qualcomm," the 24-year-old said.

"You don't want to talk about this whole rehab and Tommy John?" Patrick asked.

"I will," Harvey said. "We can set up another call if you'd like to, about that subject, but today we're honoring and supporting Qualcomm."

The right-hander then spoke about the merits of the company for nearly two minutes.

Just like that, the interview was over.

"Did Matt know that we were going to talk about ... I mean, I'm not having him call in to talk about Qualcomm," Patrick said to one of his executive producers after the short interview wrapped up.

"I would think it would be obvious that we're going to be talking Tommy John and elbow surgery," the producer replied. "Nothing was said about anything being off-limits, or that we're just talking about what he's pitching, at all. There was nothing about any off-limit topics ... That was extremely disappointing. I don't know what else he would think we'd be talking about."

Harvey took to Twitter after the interview and offered an apology.

Following the interview with Patrick, WFAN's Francesa offered some thoughts about Harvey.

"I frankly feel that the Mets, now, have got to get inside his head and get him back to Earth, because wherever he's getting his advice now … it's bad advice," Francesa said. "He's not listening to the right people. He's taken the wrong tact on things."

Francesa admitted that although he's had the starting pitcher on his program many times, he passed on having him on his show on Wednesday.

"Most of these guys get derailed, and I think Harvey's getting derailed," Francesa said. "And it's sad to watch. I hope he straightens it out, because he's getting bad advice. He really is … I can just see it. I saw it at the All-Star break, and I see it now. I hope he gets back on track."

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