– Matt Harvey said the last thing he wants to talk about at this stage is limitations on his pitching, but there the questions were again Friday as the Mets returned to Citi Field in advance of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series vs. the Cubs.

"I think everybody's kind of had enough talk and discussion about that whole ordeal," he said. "I'll be the last person to ever bring that one up again."

So as they have in recent weeks, whenever the subject turned to whether his surgically repaired right elbow will factor into how he is used, the principals quickly squelched it.

Asked whether he plans on pitching Harvey, who will start Game 1 Saturday, more than once in the series, manager Terry Collins quickly answered, "Absolutely."

Shortly thereafter, Harvey was asked whether he would like to get more than one crack at the Cubs if needed.

"Absolutely," said Harvey, who pitched seven shutout innings vs. Chicago on May 13, striking out nine. "Going into a seven-game series and having the opportunity to line up for two games, I couldn't be happier and more ready for it."

A potential Game 5 in Chicago would be Thursday night. It would give Harvey a normal four days' rest, and he will be good to go.

"Physically, I think he's fine, and I think right now mentally I think he's fine," Collins said. "Obviously, what he went through in the last month has been difficult for him because deep inside, this guy is a tremendous competitor, and he loves to be in the big games."

Harvey's innings became an issue when, in early September, he said Dr. James Andrews had advised him not to pitch beyond 180 innings this season, his first since Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. General Manager Sandy Alderson said Harvey's ability to weather the controversy that erupted probably left him "a much better pitcher and person."

Harvey pitched 189⅓ innings in the regular season, then went five more against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS.

"I can understand a certain reservation on his part as he got closer to what some people felt was a large number," Alderson said. "He got through that, and I think he has confidence now in his physical capacity, which is important for his mental approach."