July 9, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the seventh inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Daily Mets Diamond Notes: Wheeler Makes Triple-A Debut, Byrdak Out For Season

After a 10-6 record and 3.26 ERA through 19 starts with Double-A Binghamton, Zack Wheeler made his debut with the Buffalo Bisons up in Triple-A. The 22-year-old needed 101 pitches (61 strikes) to get through 4.2 innings of work, and although his command wasn’t at it’s best, he was able to wiggle out of some jams in the first and fourth innings, as he only gave up only 2 runs.

Wheeler is one of the top pitching prospects in the game, and is likely to be making an appearance with the Mets in Flushing at some point in 2013. In addition to giving up those 2 runs, he allowed 3 hits, four walks, and hit a batter, while striking out 7 hitters. He did have good velocity on his fastball, consistently hitting 95 and 96 on the radar gun, but the control of his secondary pitches wasn’t consistent, which led to his high walk total. The organization has indicated that their prized pitching prospect will likely be shut down for the season once he hits the 150 inning plateau; with 120 innings pitched between Binghamton and now Buffalo, Wheeler has only about four or five starts left before his 2012 season is complete.

Meanwhile, Tim Byrdak has been Mr. Reliable for Terry Collins this season; he leads the league with 56 appearances and even though his 2-2 record and 4.40 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched doesn’t look overly impressive, his role in the bullpen has changed multiple times. He went from being the left-handed specialist, to facing both lefty and righty hitters, to being used in 7th and 8th inning situations with the game close. When asked about using him so much earlier in the season, Collins said that he didn’t think it would be a problem because Byrdak knows his body and what his arm can take. Well, the team reported that he has a tear in his anterior capsule, the same injury that took Johan Santana and Chris Young over a year to come back from. So, he has a long road to recovery if he opts for surgery.

With that news hitting the organization, the Mets plan on promoting left-hander Garrett Olson to the bullpen before tomorrow’s series opener against the Marlins. Olson has spent a majority of his time as a starter with Triple-A Buffalo (21 starts out of 25 appearances) and has compiled a 4-7 record with a 4.56 ERA. Left-handed hitters have hit .270 against him this year in 33.1 innings pitched. A roster move will need to happen to make room for Olson on the 40-man roster. If Dillon Gee gets moved to the 60-day DL (or Byrdak for that matter), no one will have to be DFA’d. If that happens, it’s likely that Elvin Ramirez will get the call to return to the minors.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis also hit the disabled list with the partially torn plantar fascia he suffered on Friday with Buffalo. In his five games since being sent back down to Triple-A, Captain Kirk has gone 2-for-11 with five strikeouts, so a complete break may be good for him. The outfielder will be heading to Port St. Lucie to start his rehab program. In what seems to be a corresponding move, C.J. Nitkowski, who signed with the organization in July, was promoted from Binghamton to Buffalo after allowing only one hit in 4.2 innings pitched through his 6 appearances.

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Tags: C.J. Nitkowski Chris Young Dillon Gee Elvin Ramirez Garrett Olson Johan Santana Kirk Nieuwenhuis Matt Musico Mets Notes New York Mets Rising Apple Tim Byrdak Zack Wheeler Stats Zack Wheeler Triple-A Debut

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