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Mets RHP Zack Wheeler gets back on mound after elbow tenderness scare

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Feb 17, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) practices fielding drills during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 17, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) practices fielding drills during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Early Sunday morning, Mets righty Zack Wheeler threw a bullpen session and felt no discomfort. Manager Terry Collins spoke to the media after and confirmed the news.

The bullpen session came on the heels of Wheeler reporting some elbow tenderness following his previous throwing session earlier this week. That concern obviously made Mets fans all around the world nervous, and, as always, made them expect the worst.

Thankfully it seems that Wheeler is pretty much still on track with his progress, and this small scare was pretty much just due to him not pitching for such a long time.

Wheeler is likely to start the season in the bullpen, although he hasn’t been completely ruled out of the starting rotation. Manager Terry Collins is holding an open competition for that fifth slot, and Wheeler is among those being considered along with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo.

This, however, seems unlikely as the Mets have already suggested Wheeler will be held to a strict innings limit this year. The figure being thrown around by the Mets organization is the low 100s. Wheeler could conceivably be a starter in the rotation down the line after spending a couple of months at least in the ‘pen to keep his arm fresh.

Nevertheless, Wheeler has been optimistic about his return to the team, and his ability to contribute wherever they see fit. He obviously doesn’t want to be stuck in the bullpen for the long term but understands the need to be cautious at this stage of his comeback.

Next: Wright threw on Sunday for the first time since June

Let’s not forget, Wheeler was supposed to return and be a part of the rotation last summer. The timeline then was set around July, but setback after setback ended up killing that dream. So it’s no wonder the Mets are trying to approach his situation now as delicately as possible.

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