Mets revise projection, eye mid-July return for Zack Wheeler

MIAMI -- The New York Mets have revised their estimate for right-hander Zack Wheeler's return from Tommy John surgery. Team officials are now aiming for Wheeler to return shortly after the July 11-14 All-Star break.

They originally planned for Wheeler to return near July 1.

Wheeler drove down from the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie and joined teammates for this weekend's series at Marlins Park. He plans to throw a 30-pitch bullpen session for coaches Saturday.

"Right now, I'm just building up my pitch count," said Wheeler, who threw 25 pitches during his last mound session.

The Mets say there has been no setback that prompted Wheeler's return to be delayed roughly two weeks. The team figured it would be smarter to bring him back after the four-day All-Star break.

Wheeler did have a follow-up surgery in April. That was a minor procedure to remove an undissolved stitch from his original Tommy John surgery, which had been performed on March 24, 2015.

"Really the only hiccup so far is that little stitch," Wheeler said.

Manager Terry Collins believes Wheeler will take a full 30-day rehab assignment to prepare for a return to the majors. That means Wheeler should be pitching in minor league games in about two weeks.