Hefner gradually increasing intensity of rehab

Hefner gradually increasing intensity of rehab

MIAMI -- Among the rehabbing players visiting the Mets this weekend was right-hander Jeremy Hefner, who's been working his way back from Tommy John surgery in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Hefner, who underwent the procedure in late August, is scheduled to throw his fourth bullpen session on Sunday. He will introduce breaking balls for the first time and also increase the intensity of his fastballs, to around 90 percent.

"I can throw as hard as I want and it doesn't hurt, which hasn't happened in a long time," Hefner said. "I'm interested to see going forward, as I increase the quantity of pitches, how my arm responds. I think it will respond very well."

Hefner started throwing on flat ground about six weeks ago. His return to the mound has been gradual. His first three bullpens were from the mound at a shorter distance than usual, with the catcher set up in front of the plate.

Armed with a new ligament, Hefner isn't nervous about pushing himself. Even though he thinks he's about six to eight weeks away from throwing a full game, his goal to join the Mets by the end of the season hasn't changed.

"If there's a need here and they want me here, I could do that," he said. "Ultimately, it's not my call."

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