Billy Wagner Throwing 90 MPH, Return Is Now Certain

Two days after shelving J.J. Putz for a few days with a bone spur in his right elbow, the Mets got some good news regarding their former closer Billy Wagner who is rehabbing in Florida.

Adam Rubin of the Daily News reports,

Billy Wagner has returned to Port St. Lucie after a month-long moratorium on throwing off a mound. It looks like his projection to return from Tommy John elbow surgery by August may be on the mark. Wagner already is firing fastballs at 90 mph, a team source told the Daily News.

Wagner, 37, is owed $10.5 million this season, in the final guaranteed year of his four-year deal. The Mets have an option on Wagner at $8 million for next season, with a $1 million buyout.

Rubin, also looks ahead to 2010 and reminds us that the Mets also hold a $9.1 million option on J.J. Putz, and that current closer Francisco Rodriguez will earn $11.5 million next season, making it challenging for GM Omar Minaya to even retain two of the three relievers in 2010.

But for now, getting a healthy and effective Billy Wagner back to the bullpen would be quite a shot in the arm for the Mets come August.

The Mets bullpen is already considered the best in the National League and adding Billy Wagner would certainly be another lethal addition to an already formidable bullpen that leads the NL with a 3.13 ERA.

By the way, J.J. Putz will attempt to throw on the side today for the first time since receiving an anti-inflammatory injection and should be cleared to reenter games.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.