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Zack Wheeler has elbow discomfort, to visit Dr. James Andrews

NEW YORK -- New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler's chances of returning this season have taken a serious hit.

The right-hander, who is on a rehab assignment after March 2015 Tommy John surgery, is experiencing discomfort in the elbow. Wheeler is not making his scheduled start Friday with Class A St. Lucie, and Mets manager Terry Collins said he will have an appointment to meet with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews either Friday or Monday.

Wheeler made his first rehab start on Saturday and pitched only one inning, allowing a run. He threw 17 pitches before the game was halted by rain.

"I'm concerned," Collins said. "There's no guarantees when you have these operations that everyone is going to bounce back from them. After his last start, his elbow is sore again. He hasn't been able to throw since."

In 49 career starts, Wheeler is 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA. When he went for the surgery, performed by the Mets' Dr. David Altchek, the club knew they wouldn't have him for the entire 2015 season.

The hope was that Wheeler would return this past July, but he's already had a pair of setbacks. He had a procedure in April to remove an undissolved stitch and a cortisone injection in June for nerve irritation.

The Mets have sent him for multiple examinations and tests and have found nothing to explain the discomfort. The Mets checked off on Wheeler going to see Andrews for an addition exam.

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