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Justin Verlander nearing return to Mets’ rotation

SAN FRANCISCO — Justin Verlander took an important step in his rehab from a teres major strain Sunday in Port St. Lucie, throwing live batting practice.

The Mets’ right-hander and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner tossed 43 pitches over three innings and the reports the Mets have received have been positive.

“All good,” manager Buck Showalter said Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park before the final game of a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants. “We’ll see how he recovers tomorrow. He got after it with a couple pitches toward the end.”

The next step in Verlander’s return is a rehab start scheduled for Friday. The Mets are unsure where the veteran ace will pitch but it will most likely be in Port St. Lucie. Verlander resides in nearby Jupiter, Fla. in the offseason and it would make sense for him to continue his rehab where it started. As of Sunday, the Mets don’t foresee Verlander needing more than one rehab start because of the multiple side sessions and bullpens he has already thrown.

“He’s doing good, feeling good,” Showalter said. “He’s doing good and he’s anxious to get back.”

If all goes well, Verlander could make his long-awaited Mets debut in the place where it all started for him: In Detroit against the Tigers. The Mets would like to keep him on a five-day work week, so if he maintains that schedule then the former Tigers ace would be lined up to pitch the second game of a three-game series at Comerica Park.

However, the Mets have had to deviate from their pitching plans considerably over the last few weeks. The club still has not announced a starter for Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals, preferring to see how the bullpen gets through the Sunday finale in San Francisco. The Mets would like to avoid a bullpen game given the timing of Tuesday — the first game of 13 straight — but with the way right-handers Jimmy Yacabonis and Edwin Uceta have been able to eat innings for the Mets in key games over the last week, it seems to be a consideration.

As always, the Mets are expecting the unexpected.

“Everything is on the shelf,” Showalter said. “Edwin gave us reason to bring that into thought last night, but it might depend on how we come out tonight. Let’s face it, tomorrow is not an off-day. These guys will get home at about 8:00 in the morning. We’re going to be careful with that.”

Verlander has been on injured reserve since Opening Day. Although the 40-year-old was optimistic about an April return, the Mets were more cautious with their optimism. The club anticipated a longer timeline, not wanting to rush an important player back to action and risk further injury.


Source: Berkshire mont

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