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Mets target July 1 return date for Zack Wheeler

The starting pitcher missed all of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are targeting a July 1 return date for Zack Wheeler, per ESPN's Adam Rubin. After posting a 3.54 ERA in 2014, the starting pitcher missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. The surgery, however, is no longer a death sentence for hurlers; Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz have all had the procedure.

Once a headliner of the Mets' burgeoning rotation, the 25-year-old was nearly traded to the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline last year.  As of now, the Mets have no reason to rush him. They brought back Bartolo Colon to serve as their final starter alongside Harvey, deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matz. Yet there's no such thing as too much pitching, especially for a young staff full of Tommy John recipients who pitched into November last year. If everyone can stay healthy when Wheeler returns, Colon would likely transition into a long reliever and spot-starter role.