PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo is on track to resume throwing around opening day as the right-hander recovers from surgery Feb. 16 to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.

Lugo spoke Thursday for the first time since the operation with Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek. New York said Lugo needs about six weeks of recuperation following the surgery before he can throw. Then Lugo will have to work his arm into game shape, a process likely to take a month or more.

“Now it feels a lot better, feels pretty normal,” he said. “We’re easing into the rehab stuff and making sure we mark check off all the boxes and go about it the right way.”

New York said a bone spur broke during Lugo’s heightened workouts leading to spring training.

“The beginning of February, I woke up and my elbow was just swollen and I didn’t have much range, couldn’t flex or extend it. And then I did what I’d usually do for some swelling,” Lugo said. “After it didn’t go down, that’s when I called the training staff and said, ‘Hey, look, I got swelling in my elbow and I can’t get it out. What do we do from here?’ And then we got down here, had the MRI, and after the bone spurs, kind of sigh of relief, and got them removed. And here we are.”

He doesn’t think any one throw caused the bone spur.

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“It caught me off guard because it was feeling fine, know there wasn’t an incident or a throw or anything where I noticed something. It just came out of nowhere,” he said. “Very relieved. Those few days where I didn’t know what was in there, you go through every thought in your head, and I’d say this was a pretty good scenario. And I was quite relieved after the MRI.”

Lugo said his ulnar collateral ligament looked good when it was checked at the time his bone spur was scanned. He did not make his first appearance in 2017 until June 11 after he returned from Puerto Rico’s World Baseball Classic team with a partially torn ligament that did not require surgery.

The 31-year-old Lugo spent the offseason focusing on endurance in case the Mets planned to use him as a starter, but he isn’t sure whether he will be in the rotation or bullpen when he is available.

Lugo was 3-4 with a 5.15 ERA in seven starts and nine relief appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He moved into the rotation in mid-August to replace a faltering Steven Matz. Lugo was one of the most durable relievers in 2019, with a 2.70 ERA over 80 innings in 61 games.

Lugo agreed last month to a $2,925,000, one-year contract and is projected for now to be back in the bullpen as a setup man for closer Edwin Díaz.

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