Zack Wheeler took a long and winding road back to major league baseball. The New York Mets pitcher suffered a debilitating injury and a setback that kept him sidelined for two full seasons, leaving questions about whether or not he would ever be able to pitch in the big leagues again. He answered those questions on Friday night, when he took the field for a start against the Miami Marlins. The start itself was a mixed bag, but the fact that he was able to climb back to this level is impressive in and of itself.

Back in action

Things started off smoothly for the pitcher, who had not taken a major league mound since September 25, 2014 - 925 days.

Wheeler made it through the first inning unscathed, inducing a Dee Gordon ground out and strikeouts from A.J. Ellis (swinging) and Christian Yelich (looking). Shortly after that positive first inning, however, the wheels fell off for the Mets and their starter.

After getting the first out of the second inning, Wheeler gave up a walk, a single, a triple, and a sacrifice hit, giving up three runs during the frame. Yelich exacted his revenge in the third inning, hitting a two-run home run over the left field wall to extend Miami's lead. The pitcher was pulled in the bottom of the fourth inning before he could get his second turn in the order. He left the game with a 5-1 deficit attributed to the Mets and a final stat line of six hits, five earned runs (including one homer), and four strikeouts over the course of four full innings.

Returning to the mound

On March 16, 2015, the career of Wheeler was changed forever. That was the day he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, forcing him to undergo the dreaded Tommy John surgery. Players have successfully made it back from the surgery before, especially in recent years, but nothing was promised.

After he had his surgery or March 25, the Mets ruled the starter out for the entire season.

In 2016, Wheeler missed the first four months of the season before finally giving his comeback a try. He made a rehab start in St. Lucie, but it ended rather quickly. A week later, the Pitcher was diagnosed with a mild flexor strain in his right arm.

Shortly afterwards, the Mets decided to shut him down, taking two full seasons out of his career. Many don't come back from that kind of career adversity, so even if the pitcher wasn't at his best on Friday, fans should give him some time to readjust to a place he may never have reached again.