Mets reliever Erik Goeddel nearing return to mound

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets reliever Erik Goeddel is nearing a return to the mound after dealing with a lat strain for much of camp.

Goeddel resumed throwing on flat ground a week ago. He threw at 120 feet on Wednesday. He expects to have two more long-toss sessions before stepping onto a mound for the first time since the injury.

The Mets have five bullpen arms considered locks for Opening Day: Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Antonio Bastardo, Jerry Blevins and Hansel Robles. If healthy, Goeddel might have the inside track for the sixth spot, although former Brewers closer Jim Henderson has impressed early in camp. The final spot is expected to go to a long reliever/spot starter, with Sean Gilmartin and Logan Verrett the primary candidates and Rafael Montero officially also in the mix.

Goeddel, 27, went 1-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 35 relief appearances last season. He spent June 12 through rosters expanding on Sept. 1 on the disabled list with an elbow strain.