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Wheeler nearing mound readiness

Mets' RHP throws live batting practice for first time Wednesday
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

JUPITER, Fla. -- Zack Wheeler took another step forward in his return from Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, throwing live batting practice for the first time this spring at the Mets' Spring Training complex.

Wheeler is scheduled to throw a light bullpen session on Friday and another live batting practice session two days later, before starting his first Grapefruit League game March 10 against the Braves at Disney World. The outing will mark Wheeler's second time in an official game since undergoing surgery in March 2015.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Zack Wheeler took another step forward in his return from Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, throwing live batting practice for the first time this spring at the Mets' Spring Training complex.

Wheeler is scheduled to throw a light bullpen session on Friday and another live batting practice session two days later, before starting his first Grapefruit League game March 10 against the Braves at Disney World. The outing will mark Wheeler's second time in an official game since undergoing surgery in March 2015.

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If he can stay healthy for the remainder of the spring, Wheeler will compete with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo for the Mets' fifth starter's job. Though many within the organization do not see Wheeler as a fit in the bullpen, pitching coach Dan Warthen said last month that the right-hander will not pitch more than 110 innings during the regular season. That would make it difficult for him to win a rotation spot on Opening Day.

During his only full big league season in 2014, Wheeler went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts. His return from Tommy John surgery has been fraught with setbacks, including an undissolved stitch in his pitching elbow and a flexor muscle strain that ended his comeback attempt last season.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets, Zack Wheeler