NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mets fans won’t get to see Zack Wheeler right out of the gate.
Wheeler was sent to minor league camp on Sunday with nine other players. The team’s top pitching prospect will have to wait to get his first taste of the big leagues.
“He did a lot,” manager Terry Collins said. “We saw a great arm out of him. We know he’s got the great arm. I thought he handled his situation in the clubhouse, you (media) guys. I know he’s disappointed. He’s got every right to be. But he’s going to get his chance. Just like Matt Harvey. When he gets here, he’ll never look back.”
Wheeler hoped to make the Opening Day roster. His plan to convince the Mets to scrap their plan for him at Triple-A Las Vegas was given a blow when the right-hander suffered an oblique injury on Feb. 27.
“I’m not happy, but the injury cut me back just a little bit,” Wheeler said. “I only got out there one time, that’s what I’m kind of mad about. I wanted to sort of get out there and prove myself. But hopefully, I’ll be up here soon.”
Wheeler was the recipient of rave reviews at Port St. Lucie. He tossed two scoreless innings in his only Grapefruit League appearance late last month.
The 22-year-old said he felt “good” throwing to minor leaguers on Sunday.
“It felt good,” Wheeler said after delivering around 25 pitches in batting practice. “But the timing was off a little with everything, stuff like that, so my pitches weren’t crisp. Other than that, the oblique felt good. Everything else felt good.”
He won’t start in the big leagues. But it shouldn’t be too long before Wheeler gets the call.
“Just keep working down there,” Wheeler said of his conversation with Collins & Co. “Make us pull you up. We’ll be looking for you soon.”
Think we’ll see Wheeler before the All-Star break? Be heard in the comments!