The New York Mets are inching closer to returning right-hander Zack Wheeler, whose future with the team still remains in question.
Wheeler is dealing with a shoulder fatigue issue in his shoulder, however, there’s no structural damage. The IL placement is retroactive to Friday, July 12, therefore the earliest Wheeler could return would be Tuesday, July 23.
Breaking: Zack Wheeler is being placed on the injured list with right shoulder fatigue, a source says.
The IL move is retroactive to Friday, so the soonest he can return is July 23. That leaves Wheeler with two starts max before the trade deadline.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) July 15, 2019
Now, Mike Puma of the New York Post is reporting that Wheeler threw for a third straight day on Friday.
“The Mets right-hander, who is recovering from a shoulder impingement, played catch for a third straight day and then took to a bullpen mound, where he threw from the slope.”
Wheeler would need to undergo one bullpen session before getting cleared off the IL.
There’s no set-in-stone date for when Wheeler will return to the mound for the Mets. However, if he returns next week, Wheeler could potentially start two games prior to the July 31 trade deadline.
The Mets could look to deal Wheeler before that date, as his name has been linked to numerous trade talks and possibilities around the league. However, this IL placement has decreased his overall trade value.
If Wheeler can return to the mound quickly, trade possibilities involving him may not completely be shut down. He would most likely only be a rental for wherever he lands. His current contract expires at the end of this season.