SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Mets try to ready him for a Trade Deadline audition, Zack Wheeler threw 13 pitches off a mound Friday in what manager Mickey Callaway described as “glorified catch.” Still, it was a step forward for Wheeler, who had not thrown off a mound since July 7 due to a right shoulder impingement.
While Callaway was careful not to provide a timeline for Wheeler’s return, he did not rule out next week as a possibility. The most logical spot for Wheeler to return without disrupting other rotation members would be July 26 against the Pirates at Citi Field, in what would be his regular spot. Wheeler could theoretically return sooner, though that would require the Mets to give both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard two extra days of rest.
In either event, Wheeler is likely to make at least one start before the July 31 Trade Deadline, giving rival scouts a chance to see how he responds from injury. Before hitting the injured list, Wheeler profiled as one of the league’s more intriguing starting pitchers available for trade, with a 4.69 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 119 innings.
The next step for Wheeler will be a full bullpen session, which he can complete as soon as Sunday. Rookie Walker Lockett will start Saturday in his place in San Francisco.
“We have plenty of innings to cover whatever we need,” Callaway said.
Bashlor, 26, owned a 2.70 ERA in his last 10 appearances with Syracuse, striking out 18 batters in 13 1/3 innings. Following an early-season bout with the flu, he packed on almost 20 pounds, which he believes is helping him on the mound.
Nogosek, 24, was unscored upon in five outings after the Mets optioned him back to Syracuse earlier this month. This is his second stint with the Mets.
“They’ve been pitching well, throwing the ball over the plate, getting ahead -- all of the things that we stressed to them when we sent them down,” Callaway said.