PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — If Mets righthander Zack Wheeler continues on track, he’s slated to pitch in a Grapefruit League game on March 8 or 10, pitching coach Dan Warthen said.
“Right now, it’s tremendously encouraging,” Warthen said of Wheeler, who threw an extended bullpen session Sunday.
Wheeler, 26, has moved past right elbow discomfort that hindered him earlier in camp.
“That’s as well as I’ve seen him throw,” Warthen said. “He’s throwing all of his pitches right now: fastball, changeup, threw one slider, his first slider. It was outstanding. He’s throwing his curveball. But today his velocity was very close to Zack Wheeler. I’d say he’s a solid 90, 95 percent.”
Wheeler soon will throw live batting practice. He hasn’t appeared in a big-league game since the end of the 2014 season.
Neil Walker played for the first time since undergoing back surgery last season. He went 0-for-2 in the Mets’ 5-2 win over the Tigers. Walker felt no pain in his back, which had been an issue for several years before he underwent surgery. “That’s a good feeling, to be back out there and not have anything in the back of my mind,” he said.
Utilityman Ty Kelly left camp to join Team Israel in preparation for the World Baseball Classic . . . Addison Reed tossed a scoreless inning in his Grapefruit League debut. With Jeurys Familia expected to be suspended, Reed is slated to start the year as the closer . . . Kevin Plawecki is day-to-day with a bruised left knee. Precautionary X-rays came back negative. He was injured in an awkward plate collision on Saturday.