Zack Wheeler will begin throwing next month with an eye toward a June or July 2016 return to the majors. The 25-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in March after an MRI during spring training showed a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament.
Typical recovery time after Tommy John surgery is 8-12 months, but the Mets have said Wheeler's recovery will probably take 14 months, which would put him on target for a June return next season. The conservative estimate on Wheeler's rehabilitation was probably meant to temper expectations and allow him to begin next season in the minors, and today's update on his rehab keeps the club's original timetable in play.
Wheeler is 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA in 285.1 innings pitched in his young Mets career, and will presumably help form the power pitching rotation Mets fans have been hoping for with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz once he fully recovers. Until then, Wheeler will have to gradually work his arm back up to speed, with the start of a throwing program an important step in that process.