Zack Wheeler is scheduled to throw off a mound on Saturday for the first time since he had Tommy John surgery. The young righty, who went under the knife on March 25, 2015, was originally going to do so in January, but the Mets elected for the Matt Harvey timetable instead.
A 14-to-15 month recovery period is considered the standard for a return from Tommy John. The Mets are eyeing a July 1 for Wheeler's return to the majors. Fortunately, the team can afford to be patient with Wheeler thanks to the excellent stable of starting pitching already in place for the season.
On top of missing the entire 2015 season, Wheeler was nearly traded along with Wilmer Flores for Carlos Gomez, but the trade fell through. A couple days later, the Mets traded two pitching prospects for Yoenis Cespedes instead.
Hopefully Wheeler's play once he returns will continue to cement the Gomez trade as better left undone. Wheeler averaged more than a strikeout per inning in the 2014 season and saw his strikeout-to-walk ratio trending positively as the season progressed. His 3.54 ERA and 3.55 FIP were very promising, too.