Matt Harvey burst onto the Major League Baseball scene five years ago yesterday when the brilliant young rookie stepped onto the mound at Chase Field in Phoenix. The New York Mets were battling the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a time when the Mets were still far from the pinnacle of the baseball world, as they would be just three years later when they reached the World Series.

Harvey got the win in that debut, beating the D-Backs 3-1.

He did not shirk from the pressure of being considered the first in a pending long line of youthful pitching prospects that the Mets were getting ready to introduce over the coming years of hopeful promise for hungry Mets fans. Harvey struck out 11 helpless Diamondback batters that night, mixing his wicked fastball with a cunning slider and a nasty changeup that would soon result in major league batters cringing with fear.

Even when the Arizona hitters made contact that night in the desert, they were only able to produce three meaningless hits.

Harvey only pitched a little more than five innings in his debut. And to put the proverbial "cherry on top," he also aided the Mets' cause by stroking two hits from the batter's box.

Harvey hasn't been on a pitching mound since mid-June

But now that we are more than halfway through the 2017 season, the exciting promise that the "Dark Knight" began on that July night in 2012 has taken a major hit.

He hasn't been on a pitching mound since mid-June, having been diagnosed with a "stress injury to the scapula bone in the right (throwing) shoulder."

Harvey has just recently started to "long toss" in order to get himself back in shape to even have a chance to be ready to be able to pitch again sometime later this season. Met fans are keenly aware of the long list of injured players that have decimated the entire major league roster this season, including fellow starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Stephen Matz, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.

While not hopelessly out of post-season contention, it remains an unlikely destination for the boys in blue and orange.

Sadly, Harvey has known injuries; and his maladies have been major ones. Just one year removed from his 2012 successful start, he suffered the dreaded ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sprain that resulted in him having to have "Tommy John" surgery which kept him out of baseball until the latter part of 2014.

He returned then to much hype, which culminated in the last game of the 2015 World Series. Many baseball fans will remember that game which resulted in the Kansas City Royals being (quite literally) crowned as World Series champions. Harvey pitched brilliantly in the fateful Game Five, shutting out the Royals through 8 innings, but came out to pitch the 9th inning after pleading with his manager, Terry Collins, to finish what he started with the Mets leading in the game, 2-0.

But, no dice. Harvey had tired and the Royals reached him for 2 runs to tie the game and send it into extra innings, when the visitors scored 5 runs in the 12th inning to defeat the Mets and win the championship, by a final score of 7-2.

Then came the 2016 season, when the Mets reached the postseason once again but lost in the Wild Card game to San Francisco. And even worse for Harvey, another major injury hit him hard. He was diagnosed with "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome," requiring more major surgery which actually necessitated removal of one of his ribs.

A nightmare for the Dark Knight

This season has been a nightmare for the Dark Knight. He struggled immediately on his return from the TOS surgery. Then came the fateful day of May 6th, when Harvey was late to arrive at Citi Field because he had been partying late into the previous night. He apologized to fans and his teammates but was hit with a 3 game suspension by the team.

He continued to struggle after the suspension and that brings us up-to-date to the present time; as he is working towards returning this season from the scapula injury.

His Earned Run Average (ERA) sits at an embarrassing 5.25. He has only 54 strikeouts in 70+ innings.

Will Matt Harvey fulfill the promise that he showed on this date in 2012, perhaps starting in 2018? Harvey will be a free agent after that season, and much speculation among Met fans is that he will choose to leave for more money than the Mets will probably be willing to offer. The recent suspension and the bad feelings surrounding it may just be more than enough to result in a "parting of the ways" for Matt Harvey and the Mets.

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