justin verlander mets
Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of getting their butts whooped in Milwaukee, the Mets’ pitching staff has performed well to start the 2023 season. A big reason for that is Tylor Megill shining in the opportunity Justin Verlander gave him by hitting the injured list.

How close is the reigning American League Cy Young winner from making his Mets debut, though? Manager Buck Showalter spoke about that on Wednesday morning before New York’s 5-2 win over San Diego.

The club gets a day off on Thursday before starting a 10-game West Coast road trip. Verlander had been with the team during New York’s homestand. But when the Mets head west, the right-hander will be going south to Port St. Lucie.

According to Showalter, there are *likely* four things Verlander will have to accomplish before getting activated from the injured list:

  • Possibly two side sessions
  • Live batting practice
  • Appearing in a minor league game

Here’s what Buck had to say about it (quote via SNY):

He’s doing good. Very close to… putting his foot on the pedal a little bit. He had a really good day yesterday. The people that work with him were very encouraged and when we go west, he’s going south. Hopefully, a side (session) happens soon, but we know he’s going to need to do a couple of those and a BP day and then we’ll put him in a game down there.

We’ve been very cautious with it. He’s, as they say, champing at the bit, but we want to make sure we resolve everything in there before we turn it loose.

Just a few days ago, Verlander also gave a loose, yet encouraging timeline for his eventual return to the rotation. While giving that update, he mentioned lobbying against a rehab start. Unless something drastic happens, he may not be able to avoid that.

Let’s hope things continue to go as planned so we can see New York’s co-aces in the same rotation (him and Max Scherzer) by the end of April or early May at the latest. Just about anything would be better than last year when it took Jacob deGrom until August to return from his own IL stint.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.