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When will Max Scherzer return to the Mets this season?

The three-time Cy Young Award winner is working his way back from an oblique strain

Milwaukee Brewers v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The New York Mets have been able to weather so many losses to their pitching staff — Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and, until recently, Tylor Megill. Eighteen games over .500 and holding a four-game lead in the National League East, the Mets have done a great job of maintaining their hold on the division.

But with the Braves seemingly unable to lose — they’ve won 14 in a row entering Thursday — the Mets’ lead is dwindling by the day, and it’s clear that they need those aces to return soon. And it does look like Scherzer’s return is indeed nigh.

Scherzer threw a three-inning simulated game Thursday. His next step is expected to be a rehab assignment that could include only one outing in the minors before he returns to the Mets’ starting staff.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, has been out since suffering a strained left oblique during his May 18 start versus the Cardinals. He was initially expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks, and if he needs only one turn in the minor leagues, Scherzer will end up hitting the very front end of that timetable.

The 37-year-old has been brilliant once again this season when healthy. He has registered a 2.54 ERA with a .203 opponents’ batting average and 59 strikeouts in 49.2 innings.