Justin Verlander expects his Mets debut to happen before the end of this month.
Verlander, 40, was put on the injured list on Opening Day with a low-grade teres major strain in his upper arm.
He originally was slated to start the home opener – pushed back from Thursday to Friday – on his second turn through the rotation but now is playing the waiting game.
“I think [an April debut] is very reasonable,” Verlander said. “I haven’t put a timeframe on it but definitely suspect that. Worst-case is being stupid and re-injuring it, but I think that [timeframe] would be a very slow build from here.”
Verlander underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday that showed reduced inflammation.
It is not known if he will require further imaging.
“It wasn’t a significant injury to begin with,” Verlander said, “but it’s nice to see that it’s more than trending in the right direction. The consensus was, ‘You are almost there, so match that up with the symptoms that you are feeling.’ Very mild, but I still feel a teeny bit of something.
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“Being prudent on the front end and waiting for this thing to feel 100 percent right.”
Verlander will lobby to avoid a minor-league rehab start when the time comes that he is “comfortable knowing everything is healed.”
He has continued throwing from level ground while sidelined.
“The great thing about being able to continue throwing is once everything is healed and you say, ‘OK, go,’ I’m able to do like I normally would, which is long toss, get off the mound, start throwing hard,” Verlander said. “All that should fall in line fairly quickly. It’s not like you have to go, ‘Let’s play catch at 60 feet, let’s play catch at 90 feet, now 100.’ That process in and of itself takes a couple weeks.
“So, if it’s a 100-yard dash, you’re hopefully starting 50 yards down the track.”
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