Wheeler talks rehab during visit with club

Wheeler talks rehab during visit with club

ATLANTA -- Right-hander Zack Wheeler talked about his rehab from Tommy John surgery on Friday before the start of a three-game series between the Mets and Braves at Turner Field after traveling north from Port St. Lucie, Fla., to be with his teammates.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

Wheeler underwent the procedure on March 25 following a 2014 season in which he posted a 3.54 ERA in 185 1/3 innings. He expects to start throwing near the end of July, and although he didn't want to give an exact timetable, he is looking to return somewhere around June or July of next year.

"[I've been] basically just doing upper-body and lower-body lifts," Wheeler said. "That's really about it. Just running, lifting. Same thing every day, so it's starting to get kind of old.

"Hopefully, when I pick up a ball, it'll start moving a little bit faster and change some things up every once in a while."

Wheeler has been keeping up with the team throughout his rehab process.

"I'll sit there and watch them basically every night because I have nothing else to do down there in Florida," he said. "Looks like we're playing well, and hopefully, we can keep it up."

Manager Terry Collins said that it was nice to have a guy like Wheeler -- whom Collins said is a "big piece" of where the club is going in the future -- back in the clubhouse.

"He's fun to be around," Collins said, "so it's nice that they could let him get out of Florida for a vacation; bring that 93-degree stuff up here."

And although Wheeler acknowledged that the rehab process has been slow and, at times, monotonous, he is trying to make the most of it and come back stronger and better than he was before the injury.

"It sort of makes you think about your career and be thankful for being healthy as long as I have been," Wheeler said. "It's just a little speed bump in the road that you have to get over, come back stronger from."

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.