Morning Mets Notes: Zack Wheeler Takes Mound in Minor League Game

By Matt Musico

Zack Wheeler has been throwing for a while since he injured his oblique hitting in the cage before his scheduled Grapefruit League start against Carlos Beltran and the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite that, he hadn’t pitched in a game again until yesterdayin minor league camp. One would imagine the top pitching prospect was dying to get back into a game, as it’s been three weeks since his spring debut.

Feb 23, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher

Zack Wheeler

(65) throws in the third inning during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

He made the most of his appearance, throwing three innings and allowing only one hit. I wish we could have watched him more in Big League camp and see how he adjusted to hitters once they saw him pitch two or three times, but it wasn’t meant to be this year. Although there was an outside chance of him making the team and being in the rotation next month, I think we all knew his ticket to Triple-A was already punched. However, as long as he shows he can hold his own in the Pacific Coast League, which is a notorious hitter’s league, it won’t be long before he gets the call. Travis d’Arnaud is still in Big League camp, but only to continue working with the Major League staff before he heads to Las Vegas as well. That month or two him and Wheeler spend together will be crucial for them to understand how each other wants to work through a ballgame, as they can create a rhythm and chemistry before they both claim their respective spots in Flushing.

Danny Abriano kept us current with the day’s news and notes yesterday; Adam Rubin reported that the starting rotation is starting to take shape, and once Jonathon Niese throws on Opening Day, he will be followed by Shaun Marcum, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, and Jeremy Hefner. Also, John Buck hasn’t been getting any time on the field because he’s been fighting off the flu. When the Padres come to Citi Field to start the season, they’ll be without their All-Star third baseman, as Chase Headley could miss up to the next month with a fractured left thumb.

Matt Harvey and the Mets beat the Cardinals in Jupiter yesterday, 3-2. The right-hander stayed in the game for 5.1 innings, while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, while striking out 6. Lucas Duda hit his third home run of the spring, a two-run shot to left field. Unfortunately for Ruben Tejada, he went hitless again, dropping his spring average to a dismal .088. You can get your Rising Apple recap right here.

There will be no Mets baseball on today, as New York has the day off. They will take the field again tomorrow against the Houston Astros at 6:05p, with Dillon Gee getting the start. If you’re looking to get a dosage of baseball, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will face off at AT&T Park in the finals of the World Baseball Classic, tonight at 8p.

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