NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A vital piece of the Mets’ puzzle is not too far away.
Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler is expected to make just 2-3 more starts for Triple-A Las Vegas before being called up to Flushing to make his major league debut, a team official informed the New York Post.
Barring a potential setback, the former first-round pick will likely make his first start for the Amazin’s sometime between June 6-June 11.
New York will be in Washington playing the Nationals on June 6 before returning to Citi Field for a weekend series against the Marlins. Following an off-day, the Mets will kick off a series at home against the Cardinals on June 11.
Wheeler missed his scheduled start last Friday due to shoulder soreness, but returned to the hill on Wednesday to face Iowa. The 22-year-old surrendered three runs in five innings in his return.
“If not for the minor setback with the shoulder, he might already be here,” the team official told the newspaper. “We are at the point where you can say it’s probably two or three more starts (for Las Vegas).”
The hard-throwing right-hander reached 100 mph on the radar gun on Wednesday, but mostly lived in the 95-97 mph range, an evaluator who was on hand for the outing told the New York Post.
Hitting has been a major problem for the Mets this season, but pitching hasn’t exactly been stellar, either. Outside of Matt Harvey, who has been brilliant in his first full season in the majors, every pitcher in the starting rotation has regressed in 2013. That include Jon Niese, who was the Opening Day starter coming into the season.
Wheeler struggled to start the season, but has been excellent as off late — not including his so-so performance on Wednesday.
In nine starts in the Pacific Coast League this season, the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA. He’s walked 20 batters and struck out 49 in 48 1/3 innings pitched.
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