Hefner nearing stepping on mound slope

May, 6, 2014
May 6
5:14
PM ET
MIAMI -- Jeremy Hefner made the drive from Port St. Lucie to Marlins Park to do his rehab work Tuesday with the big-league club.

Similar to Matt Harvey, Hefner hopes to advance to throwing on flat ground at 120 feet this week -- likely on Thursday. Two or three weeks after that, Hefner may begin throwing from the slope of the mound.

Hefner underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013, which is roughly two months before Harvey's procedure. The 28-year-old right-hander still aims to pitch for the Mets this season.

"That's my goal," Hefner said. "That's my hope. Hopefully I can come and contribute if there's a need. I think I'd be wasting my time if I wasn't trying to get back to the big leagues."

Hefner, who was non-tendered in December and re-signed on a minor-league contract, said he would be secure knowing he would be ready for 2015 even if he did not pitch competitively later this season.

"I've been here," Hefner said. "Not that I'm some kind of 10-year veteran by any stretch of the imagination. But I've had good spurts and I've had bad spurts. And I know what it takes to have those good spurts. Hopefully I can get my arm to cooperate with my mind and get back to that point."

Hefner had a 4-8 record and 4.34 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) last season.

He is using the rehab as an opportunity to clean up flaws in his mechanics.

"Not being as rotational with my upper body and flying open," Hefner said. "... It seems to be working. The ball is coming out of my hand really well. I wish I could get in a game tonight, especially being here. It's much easier to warm up and to throw out there [at Marlins Park] than it is on Field 2 back in Port St. Lucie. It was good to come here and be in a big-league stadium again."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187