Zack Wheeler
AP Photo/Ross Cameron

The New York Mets are inching closer to returning right-hander Zack Wheeler, whose future with the team still remains in question.

On Monday, Tim Healey of Newsday announced that New York Mets righty Zack Wheeler would be heading to the injured list.

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.

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.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.