Zack Wheeler remains on target for a June, 2016 return
The Mets pitching treasures have been in the national spotlight thanks to their miraculous run to a 2-0 lead over the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.
But none of those treasures on display feature Zack Wheeler, who remains in Port St. Lucie rehabbing from a torn tendon and Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow.
Wheeler began throwing in late July, and has progressed without a hitch into the fall as he continues to work his way back to the big leagues.
When he underwent elbow surgery in late March, Wheeler said the torn tendon in his elbow would delay his return by about a month in 2016, projecting to return in either June or July of next season as opposed to the standard 12-14 month timeframe.
And on Monday, Wheeler said he remained right on course to return in that expected time period.
“I’m looking right at the beginning of June,” he said on Sirius/XM Radio on Monday afternoon.
Of course, that’s not meant to be served as a guarantee, but its a reasonable goal for him to reach as he attempts to re-join what has proven to be a rich fraternity of power-armed starting pitchers in the Mets rotation.
Wheeler said in September he plans to spend most of the winter in Port St. Lucie rehabbing with coordinator Jon Debus at the team’s minor league complex at Tradition Field.
“It stinks not to be up there with those guys and pitching with them,” Wheeler told MLB.com in late July. “All I can do is dream. I am dreaming about it right now – I wish I was up there.
“There’s always next year,” he said. “That’s my whole motivation, To be able to join those guys and win a World Series next year. It should be a lot of fun, and that’s what pushes me everyday down here.”
He doesn’t figure to have an innings limit necessarily when he returns next season, given his expected timeframe. But as is the case with any pitcher returning from such an injury, there will be ebbs and flows in the process, a readjustment to the pitching mound, game conditions, and unknowns as he attempts to start pitching in meaningful games again.
But his return is already highly anticipated, considering he will only serve to greatly enhance what is already a gold mine of young, hard-throwing and successful starting pitching.