NEW YORK -- The Mets plan to activate starting pitcher Zack Wheeler from the injured list Friday, a team official said, giving him one final showcase before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Wheeler took a tangible step forward Sunday on his road back from a right shoulder impingement, throwing a bullpen session at Oracle Park without issue. His last remaining obstacle before activation will be a live batting practice session against hitters at Citi Field this week.
Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom will start Tuesday through Thursday against the Padres. Although Wheeler was a candidate to pitch in one of those games, which would have given him two starts before the Trade Deadline, the club is proceeding cautiously with its most valuable trade chip.
In 19 starts, Wheeler is 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA. An impending free agent, he is considered one of the top starters available at the July 31 Deadline. The Brewers, Astros, Twins and Yankees are among those teams seeking starting pitching help.