Although it was only a Spring Training game yesterday, there was excitement in the air before Zack Wheeler‘s scheduled start against the St. Louis Cardinals. Not only would we get to see if the organization’s top prospect could continue to build on his successful Grapefruit League debut, but he would get the chance to face the player Sandy Alderson traded to acquire him in 2011- Carlos Beltran. However, Wheeler never made it to the mound, as he was scratched from his start with a strained right oblique. Is it time for us to freak out?
NO!! Please don’t start to go nuts over Wheeler missing this start; of course, any time a top prospect (and one that is seen as a future cornerstone) gets any kind of injury, it will cause people to get agita. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. As Danny Abriano pointed out in the above link, after he strained his side taking some hacks in the cage, Wheeler proceeded to go and throw, feeling fine. Despite that, the Mets made the prudent move to let him rest as a precaution instead of running the risk of making it a more serious injury. It would have been nice to see him pitch, but I’d rather him take some Spring Training starts off in exchange for staying on the mound all this season. Also, let’s not forget that he aggravated his oblique; it’s not like we’re talking about a “minor injury” to his throwing arm. So, there is no need to worry moving forward. The righty expects to make his next scheduled start, but don’t be surprised if the Mets hold him out for one turn through the rotation, just to make sure he’s ready to go.
Danny kept us current with all the day’s news and notes out of PSL; Daniel Murphy is still letting the cortisone shot he received over a week ago take effect before he begins baseball activity. It should be another day or two before he starts swining a bat again, and about a week until he appears in a game. Johan Santana long tossed some more yesterday, and will face hitters on March 5th, still putting him on track to make his Grapefruit League season debut on the 10th or 11th. Also, in what was more surprising than anything, Pedro Feliciano has been cleared to resume baseball activity while his heart gets monitored. This happens just days after we heard he’d be shut down for two weeks. Guess it’s not all that serious after all.
With Wheeler missing his start, Darin Gorski stepped in to face the Cardinals, and struggled, allowing 4 runs. That gave way to Carlos Torres also giving up 4 runs. There were some positives out of this loss, though; Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda both returned to the lineup and recorded a hit, while David Wright went 2-for-3 in his second-to-last game before the WBC. Also, it was nice to see both John Buck and Anthony Recker hit homers…something we’re not used to seeing from catchers. You can get the Rising Apple recap right here.
Will DeBoer continued his brand new series, as the The Rising Apple Top Ten asked a hot button question for us fans: who wants to be a closer? Make sure you check it out; there are some humorous ones on there. Also, The Rising Apple Report hit the airwaves for episode #9, as we welcomed both Steve Keane from The Eddie Kranepool Society and Ted Berg from USA Today onto the show. Sam Maxwell gave us a preview, and you can listen to it right here.
The Mets will travel to take on the Nationals tonight at 6:05 pm, with Rafael Montero taking the mound for the Amazins’. Catch all the action on MLB Network.