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Mets Minor League Report: Matt Harvey

Amid their freefall, the Mets are calling upon an untested rookie.

Matt Harvey, New York's first-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, will step onto a Major League mound for the first time on Thursday in a series-opening contest against the D-backs.

The Mets are hoping that Harvey can put an end to their second six-game skid in the last two weeks. New York has dropped 12 of its last 13 contests.

"It is what it is," Mets skipper Terry Collins said. "He's going to have to realize there's lots of things that come with pitching in the big leagues, and one of them might be to stop a losing streak."

Harvey went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 starts for Triple-A Buffalo, with 112 strikeouts in 110 innings.

Collins' message to the 23-year-old was a simple one.

"'Pitch,'" he told the youngster. "'Do what you've been doing. It's the same thing, the same game. You have to make pitches. If you don't make pitches, you're going to get hit hard.' There's not much more to say. This guy's got the makeup. He doesn't want to be just a guy, he wants to be the guy. He has a good approach."

Harvey, the Mets' second-ranked prospect and 30th in baseball according to MLB.com's 2012 Prospect Watch, will face an opponent that's on the opposite end of the spectrum. The D-backs entered Wednesday's tilt against the Rockies riding a five-game win streak, a stretch that has lifted them back into the races for both the National League West crown and the Wild Card berths.

Mets: Club creates recovery plan for Santana
The Mets expect Johan Santana, who tossed the franchise's first no-hitter earlier this season, to make a start on Aug. 8 or Aug. 9.

Santana, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle, will work with Mike Herbst, the Mets' Minor League strength and conditioning coach, this week. He'll play long toss until he's ready to throw off a mound, a task Collins expects him to complete toward the middle of next week.

"After that, we're hoping that he's back," Collins said.

Santana, 33, has shown signs of shoulder fatigue since injuring the ankle during a start on July 6. This season the southpaw is 6-7 with a 3.98 ERA in 19 starts.

• Outfielder Mike Baxter, who displaced his right collarbone on June 1 when he crashed into the left-field fence at Citi Field during Santana's no-hitter, could rejoin the Mets on Monday in San Francisco.

Collins said that the 27-year-old only needs to make a few more rehab appearances in the outfield before he can rejoin the big league club. In 65 at-bats, Baxter is batting .323 with a .392 on-base percentage, 11 doubles and 10 RBIs.

D-backs: Chase Field to host Classic games
The home of the D-backs will play host to first-round competition in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The games will be played at both Chase Field and the club's Cactus League home, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Arizona previously hosted first-round action at Scottsdale Stadium in 2006.

The third edition of the Classic takes place next spring and includes 28 nations.

Worth noting
• The Mets took two of three from the D-backs in a May series at Citi Field.

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