Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Matt den Dekker (68) makes a catch on the warning track during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Mets beat the Tigers 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Notes & Thoughts: On Wheeler, Atchison, & den Dekker

Here are today’s pertinent news items…

Zack Wheeler is on the cusp:

Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, who next pitches tomorrow for AAA Las Vegas, is extremely close to a promotion.  At this point, it’s obvious that the Mets are waiting until the Super Two eligibility date has passed (which is why Wheeler wasn’t a consideration to take Jonathon Niese‘s spot tomorrow).

Wheeler, who turned 23 yesterday, is ready for the majors.  Before yesterday, most of the beat writers were projecting the five game series in Atlanta from June 17th through the 20th as the most logical time for Wheeler to make his debut.  Yesterday, though, it started to seep out that Wheeler’s debut may come a bit earlier.  The new guess from those in the know (going on utterances from Mets brass) is that Wheeler will be called up to make his first major league start during the Mets’ series with the Cubs at Citi Field that takes place June 14th through the 16th.

If the above is accurate, that would give Wheeler two more starts in AAA (June 1st and June 6th), and perhaps a third and final AAA start on June 11th…depending on when the Mets want to slot him into the rotation.  There are those who will claim that having Wheeler make his debut at home will bring added pressure, but I believe having him make his major league debut in Atlanta (close to where he grew up) would bring much more pressure than a weekend game in New York against the Cubs.

Scott Atchison is experiencing numbness in his fingers again:

Reliever Scott Atchison, who was placed on the disabled list a few weeks ago, is again experiencing numbness in the fingers of his pitching hand.  Atchison, 37, opted against having Tommy John Surgery last year, instead choosing to pitch through the pain.

He had been rehabbing in Port St. Lucie and was close to being activated before the numbness flared up.  Here’s what Adam Rubin of ESPN had to say about the situation:

The issue is related to a bone spur in Atchison’s elbow.  Atchison will seek a second opinion as to whether surgery is necessary now to remove the spur, or whether he can simply allow the elbow inflammation affecting the nerve to calm with rest and address the spur after the season.

Even if Atchison is told he can allow this flareup to calm down, there’s no way the Mets can count on him returning to be a major contributor in the pen.  If Atchison isn’t able to make his way back, that should pave the way for Jeurys Familia to return to the majors once he finishes his own rehab.  Sandy Alderson had stated that Familia may instead head to AAA Las Vegas, but Atchison’s absence would probably alter that line of thinking.

Matt den Dekker is back in action:

Center fielder Matt den Dekker, who broke his wrist during spring training, is finally about to get back on the field.  den Dekker tweeted the following this morning:

There’s no timetable for den Dekker’s eventual return to games, but the fact that he’s been cleared to hit should be an indication that he isn’t far away.  With Rick Ankiel struggling and the club not enamored with Kirk Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker should be in line for a callup later this season as long as he can stay healthy.


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Tags: Matt Den Dekker New York Mets Scott Atchison Zack Wheeler

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