CHICAGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Mets manager Terry Collins said top prospect Zack Wheeler is tipping his breaking pitches.
Collins said in his pregame media session Wednesday the Mets noticed the flaw in Wheeler’s motion during his second big league start a night earlier. Wheeler allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings against the Chicago White Sox.
“We saw it. We tried to address it during the game a little bit,” Collins said.
The 23-year-old right-hander is scheduled to start again Sunday, and Collins says pitching coach Dan Warthen will work with Wheeler during a bullpen session Thursday.
“Guys look for it all the time. It starts with the glove,” said Collins. “Moving the glove there’s different things to look for and then all of sudden you start to look when he speeds up, when he slows down, what the pitches are. You start to get a read on it.”
Collins said he’s talking publicly about it because the problem was so obvious he received about 10 text messages and emails alerting him to the issue.
“I’m not on Twitter, but I do have an e-mail address and I do get texts.” he said. “So I got a little indication he might be tipping.”
Collins said Wheeler has been tipping his off-speed pitches more than his fastball.
“This is going to get out as a scouting report,” Collins said. “We’ve got to fix it. We’ll fix it tomorrow.”
Collins said Wheeler was also tipping is pitches in his debut, when he tossed six shutout innings.
“It shows you what kind of stuff he’s got,” said Collins.
A 23-year-old right-hander, Wheeler was selected by San Francisco with the sixth overall pick of the 2009 amateur draft and was obtained by the Mets two years ago in the trade that sent All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Giants.
“I was totally unaware of it,” Wheeler said of tipping his pitches. “I’ve never done it before. I haven’t seen video or anything of last night so I really don’t know what I was doing, but I’ll try to fix it.”
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