Feb 21, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (65) poses for a picture during photo day at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas 51′s Update: d’Arnaud Does Not Need Surgery – Zack Wheeler Struggles Again In Fourth Start – 51′s Defeat Sacramento, 10-5


To review, in last Wednesday night’s game at Cashman Field, while playing against visiting Sacramento, Travis d’Arnaud was reported to have sustained a non displaced fracture of the first metatarsal in his left foot resulting from a foul tip while crouched behind the plate.  On Thursday, Sandy Alderson alerted METropolis of the news, as d’Arnaud sported a new walking cast to the airport.  On Friday, Travis d’Arnaud was due to arrive at team doctor’s offices in New York.  Now, Saturday welcomes us with the ol’ traditional good news/bad news report, as we have learned surgery will not be necessary, but that Travis will be out for roughly two months.

Unfortunately for Las Vegas baseball fans, this is the second consecutive year they have witnessed d’Arnaud’s season compromised by an injury.  Last year while still in Toronto’s organization, his 2012 season came to an end after just sixty-seven games.  While still topical, here is my thought in response to the media and general reaction as it pertains to d’Arnaud.  In a nutshell, it has been widely speculated the Mets prized catching prospect is possibly injury prone.  Travis’ latest setback is being grouped together with his back problems from 2010, and a knee injury in 2012.  Saying he is prone to injury, I believe is a bit much.  A foul tip is just a freak thing. Suffering from bulging discs in 2010 is something to ponder.  I certainly agree.   But last year’s knee injury appears corrected.  In this case, I do not believe these three instances form a correlation.  To suggest he is injury prone wreaks, to me, of a knee jerk reaction and sensationalism on the media’s part, due in part to d’Arnaud’s high regard.

Travis d’Arnaud’s battery mate, Zack Wheeler, has not been without his own criticisms.  After three starts, he had yet to win a game this season.  Prior to Friday, his 3.86 earned run average was based on six earned runs allowed in fourteen innings pitched.  He surrendered seventeen hits and walked six for a lofty 1.643 WHiP.  His 3.9% W/9 was down from his usual 4.1%, but still not where he needs to be.  Wheeler’s LOB% additionally reached his minor league low of sixty-eight percent.  His best mark came in 2011, when he stranded runners at an 81.8% clip.  On the bright side, his seventeen strikeouts gave him a 10.9% average per nine innings pitched.

So how did he do Friday night?  Not too well I’m afraid.  He was hampered by more control issues.  His fourth start of the season against the visiting Sacramento River Cats started strong, but ultimately only lasted 4.1 innings.  His personal efforts went awry in the fifth.  In all, he allowed four earned runs on three hits, and issued six ponderous bases on balls.  He struck out four batters, but watched his ERA balloon to a 4.91 mark.  Zack Wheeler was actually getting progressively better with each start until this step backwards.  Up in Flushing, Terry Collins‘ want to have Wheeler on the big club sooner than later may need rethinking.  Although, GM Sandy Alderson seems to have no apparent conflict regarding Wheeler’s status.

Zack Wheeler may have struggled Friday evening, but the 51′s offense provided plenty of support.  After the River Cats jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Las Vegas promptly tied the game in the bottom half of the frame.  In the third, the offense handed Zack Wheeler a 4-1 lead.  When Sacramento tied the game with three off Wheeler in the fifth, Las Vegas cranked out another burst of offense to cover.  A run in the sixth, three in the seventh, and two more runs in the eighth inning inevitably led to a 10-5 final score.

Greg Peavey got credit for the win in relief.  Outside of an inconsequential run scored by the River Cats in the ninth off Dylan Owen, Sacramento mustered little against the bullpen duo of Greg Peavey and Justin Hampson.

First baseman Eric Campbell tied the game in the third with his first home run of the season.  He scored three times and drove in two runs.  Left fielder Jamie Hoffmann had three hits, including a double, in four times up.  Reese Havens, who did not start, entered the game at third base, and finished with two hits in two at-bats.  He hit his first home run of the season in the seventh.

Catcher Juan Centeno Promoted From Binghamton After Injury To d’Arnaud

Earlier in the week, Juan Centeno, 23, was assigned from Binghamton to fill in during d’Arnaud’s absence from the diamond.  He is a light hitter, never exhibiting power at any level.  Juan spent his first full season in Binghamton last year, where he batted a respectable .285 and managed an equally respectable .337 on-base percentage.  In 281 at-bats, he drove in thirty-five runs, partly through stroking twelve doubles.  His true worth lies with defense.  Centeno excelled playing seventy-nine games behind the plate last season.  In seven minor league campaigns, he owns a .986 fielding percentage.  In 2012 for Binghamton, that mark improved to .991, and he additionally threw out would be base-stealers at an astonishing rate of forty-one percent.  This will be Juan Centeno’s first venture in AAA level baseball.

From AREA 51

If anyone in Flushing has designs on utilizing Omar Quintanilla to light a fire under Ruben Tejada‘s posterior, first consider Omar is only hitting .250 so far after forty-four at-bats.  Ruben is also batting .250 after fifty-two at-bats.  Omar Quintanilla has Ruben beat however, with a .340 OBP, versus Ruben’s slightly lower .328 on-base percentage.  Defensively, Ruben has six “official” errors for a .913 fielding average, while Omar has committed four errors, and comes in slightly better with a .938 FA.

RELATED LINK

From the Las Vegas Sun – Hoping Cashman Field’s days are numbered for greener pastures of Summerlin – by Ray Brewer.

This is an article which A) – highlights the continuing ownership developments, B) – details the author’s support for relocating the team, and C) – serves as a sharp rebuke of Cashman Field.  A great article for Mets fans who want insight into the conditions facing the organization’s players in Las Vegas.

 

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Tags: Las Vegas 51s New York Mets Rising Apple Travis D'Arnaud Zack Wheeler