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Jeremy Hefner hopeful he can return for Mets this season

Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner delivers the ball to

Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner delivers the ball to the Kansas City Royals during the first inning. (August 3, 2013) Credit: AP

MIAMI - Jeremy Hefner hopes to reach the next step in his rehab from Tommy John surgery this week, when he's expected to begin long tossing from 120 feet.

"Today was my best day," said Hefner, who joined the Mets in Miami Tuesday. "I tell my wife that all the time. Today was my best day, and as long as I can keep saying that, I think I'm in a good spot."

Hefner has been rehabbing along with Matt Harvey at the team's complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The two righties appear to be on parallel tracks. Both are close to throwing off a pitcher's mound for the first time since surgery.

Like Harvey, Hefner believes he has a chance of pitching in the major leagues this season.

"I think I'd be wasting my time if I wasn't trying to get back to the big leagues," Hefner said. "I'm hopeful that I can do that."

Hefner went 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 23 starts in 2013 before a torn elbow ligament cut his season short.

"It's much easier to warm up and to throw out there than it is on Field Two back in Port St. Lucie," Harvey said. "But it was good to come here, to be back in a big-league stadium again, and to throw."


Banged-up bullpen

Reliever Carlos Torres was expected to be sidelined for a second consecutive night with what manager Terry Collins called an issue with his upper lat muscle.

Torres has arguably been the most effective pitcher in the Mets bullpen, posting a 2.55 ERA in 16 appearances.

The Mets were also expected to be without Daisuke Matsuzaka, who threw 29 pitches while allowing three runs in the eighth inning of Monday night's 4-3 loss to the Marlins.

New York Sports