Zack Wheeler expected to throw off mound later this week

The Mets are targeting July 1 for Zach Wheeler's return to the majors. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler is expected to throw off a mound as soon as Friday. It would mark his first time making pitches from an incline since undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring training.

Wheeler originally intended to throw off a mound in January. But the Mets slowed him down, deciding that the 15-month rehab time that worked so well for Matt Harvey ought to be the new norm for a starting pitcher rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

The Mets are targeting July 1 for Wheeler's return to the majors. At that point, Mets staff has indicated, the club may go to a six-man rotation for a turn or two.

Wheeler, 25, is 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA in 49 career starts.