Mets starting pitcher Tylor Megill walks through the dugout after...

Mets starting pitcher Tylor Megill walks through the dugout after coming out of the game during the fourth inning against the Brewers in an MLB game at Citi Field on June 16. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Sidelined with the most serious injury of his career, a right shoulder strain that will keep him out until at least mid-August, Tylor Megill has had plenty of time lately to focus on the important things in one’s mid-20s.

First, there is the matter of his beard, which he is growing out. Usually neatly trimmed to a thin layer of scruff, his facial hair now is thicker and fuller, like a hockey player in the second round of the playoffs. Megill plans to keep it going at least until he returns, and then he’ll see what happens.

And then there has been the conversation and reflection that have led to an important lesson for Megill: Don’t throw so darn hard, as tempting as it may be.

Megill said his uptick in velocity this year “could be” the reason behind his biceps and shoulder issues, so he is working on reeling it in upon returning to the mound. Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and the team’s medical staff — and ace Max Scherzer, who has made an excellent career out of throwing hard, but not as hard as possible — have suggested that Megill not go all out all the time.

“I’ve just been trying to reprogram to not chase numbers,” Megill told Newsday. “I guess the whole Scherzer/[Justin] Verlander deal. Sit at a certain velocity and use the velo when I need it. Keep the arm healthy like that.

“It’s very tempting, obviously, when I’ve had this whole velo bump, to be throwing hard. It’s exciting. But it’s not working to my benefit to throw that hard every inning, every pitch, and watching it dip down.”

Megill said his rehab has been smooth, if boring. He plans to throw a baseball for the first time since getting hurt on Friday, the day after his four-week shutdown.

“I’m excited for that,” he said. “Obviously, the first few weeks were slow. Turning that corner, I’m excited to get going next week and start that buildup process.”

In his rookie season, Megill’s four-seam fastball averaged 94.6 mph, which was a jump from where he was for much of his professional career. This year, it jumped even higher to 95.7 mph.

He has thrown six pitches faster than his 2021 max of 97.5. On Opening Day, he hit 99.1. He declared the next week in an interview with Newsday, “I’m throwing 100 this year.”

That mindset didn’t thrill Mets decision-makers, but such is the seductive nature of flying so close to the triple-digit sun.

Megill knows better now, he said. The next step is actually doing better.

“It’s there when you need it, but you don’t need it all the time,” he said. “It’ll keep my velocity smooth cruising throughout the whole game instead of being 97, 98, 99 the first couple innings and then I’m dying down to 94, 95, 96. And the hitters, once they see me a couple times, the ball looks a lot slower, so if I can go deeper into games and still have that velo where I can let it fly, it’s kinda like another pitch in the back pocket.”

After listening to what Hefner and others have told him, Megill said a mid-90s fastball is more than enough with all his other tools, including the above-average extension afforded to him by his 6-7 frame, plus his changeup and slider.

“I just need to keep my head around staying in that [range] and not trying to get too crazy with it,” Megill said. “[Scherzer] has never had an arm injury. That’s the whole point, staying healthy. Obviously, it’s cool to throw hard to a point, but at the end of the day, you want to stay healthy and have your career and longevity.”

Baby watch

Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup for rest, Buck Showalter said, but will return Sunday. He got into the game in the eighth and went 0-for-1. He’ll go on the paternity list “sometime after Sunday’s game,” according to the manager. Might McNeil miss the entire Atlanta series (Monday-Wednesday)?

“We’ll see,” Showalter said. “I’m sure that nine months ago they didn’t look at the schedule. I hope not. It’s something a lot bigger than baseball.”

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