PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets hoped Zack Wheeler would be prepared to resume throwing off a bullpen mound Friday, one day later than originally scheduled. Pitching coach Dan Warthen even insisted the elbow tenderness that altered Wheeler’s schedule was not considered a setback.
But Thursday, after playing catch at the team’s complex, Wheeler said his next throwing session might not come until tomorrow or even Sunday. It was the latest delay in his bumpy road back from Tommy John surgery in 2015.
Wheeler, 26, offered only a thumbs up when asked how he was feeling, though his rehab has been anything but smooth. Some of that turbulence has returned as he attempts to get back on the field for the first time since the end of the 2014 season.
Terry Collins attributed some of Wheeler’s soreness to getting back on the mound earlier this week at a higher intensity.
“I know you guys are finely tuned athletes sitting out there right now,” the manager said. “But I can guarantee you that if I asked you to go sprint to second base right now, tomorrow you’re going to be sore. And that’s what he did, basically. For the first time in two years he got on the mound, and he thought he had to start exerting himself a little bit and his elbow is a little flared up.”
Wheeler took anti-inflammatory medication and played catch Thursday. Collins said he reported no issues. Still, the Mets have resolved to approach Wheeler’s progress with caution.
“We don’t think it’s major yet until we get into this a little farther,” Collins said. “If he continues to have it in seven to 10 days, then we’ve got to re-examine it.”