Wheeler throws for first time since elbow surgery

Wheeler throws for first time since elbow surgery

NEW YORK -- Right on schedule, Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler threw off flat ground Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. Wheeler has been working out at the team's rehab facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

In an email, Wheeler said that "everything felt great … strong and pain free."

"I've been working my butt off in the weight room and I have a feeling it's going to pay off in the long run," Wheeler said.

Still just 25 years old, Wheeler was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts last season, his first full big league campaign. He has said he hopes to be back next June or July, which would fall in line with a typical Tommy John rehab.

Recently, Wheeler's name has popped into trade rumors as the Mets attempt to acquire an outfielder prior to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. General manager Sandy Alderson did not include Wheeler on a list of the club's untouchable young pitchers: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.