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Zack Wheeler who has joined the Mets in Miami, as he rehabs in nearby Port St. Lucie, has told reporters that his 2016 debut has been pushed back until after the All-Star Break. The current timetable now puts Wheeler’s debut at 16 months off of recovery coming off of Tommy John Surgery. Wheeler was orginally scheduled for a July 1st return but after having an undissolved stitch removed from his throwing arm earlier this season, the Mets plan to play it safe and give Wheeler a little extra time to get up to speed. Wheeler is expected to throw 30 pitches off a mound today for Mets coaches prior to this afternoon’s game.
It is being reported that catcher Travis d’Arnaud could possibly begin a Minor League rehab assignment as soon as this weekend. The only issue however is that d’Arnaud would appear in those rehab games as a designated hitter. The Mets still do not have a solid estimate as to when he will begin throwing, as he is currently still nursing that strained right rotator cuff injury. D’Arnaud has been on the disabled list since April 26.
When the Mets open a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, the Mets will face a familiar foe in left-handed pitcher Jon Niese. Niese is currently scheduled to start on Monday against another lefty in Steven Matz. It could be argued that Matz arrival in the big leagues last season pushed Niese out of his rotation spot, and it will be an interesting matchup nonetheless to watch two southpaws do battle. Niese was acquired in the offseason by the Pirates in a trade for second baseman Neil Walker. Niese holds a 5-2 record with a 4.36 ERA for the Pirates in 11 starts, although he has been pitching his best baseball of the season over his last five starts.