PHILADELPHIA -- Former Cy Young winner Frank Viola is due to join the Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, next Friday after recovering from open-heart surgery.
Viola, 54, underwent the procedure on April 2 after a spring-training physical detected an irregularity.
Before the medical issue arose, Viola had been slated to open the season as pitching coach for the Pacific Coast League club. He spent the previous three years in the organization as a Class A pitching coach.
Viola had hoped to mentor top Mets prospects Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom with Las Vegas, but Montero and deGrom already have been promoted to the Mets and Syndergaard currently is sidelined with a strained flexor pronator in his right forearm.
Tom Signore has filled in with the Pacific Coast League club in Viola's absence. Signore is slated to serve as pitching coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the New York-Penn League. That club begins play June 13.
Viola is due to represent the Mets at next Thursday's opening day of the draft in Secaucus, N.J., before rejoining Las Vegas.