By Ed Coleman
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBSNewYork) — Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen spoke at length Wednesday about the new approach the team is taking with its pitchers to “save their bullets,” so to speak.
Warthen talked about the rollback on pitches for the staff in order to preserve their arms and keep them vibrant throughout the season.
It’s a rather drastic reduction from previous springs, but the response thus far from the pitchers has been positive.
This is basically the same group which nearly revolted when a six-man rotation or skipping a start was broached in the past. Times, and circumstances, change.
Most of the starters will make their first spring starts much later than usual. And it’s not so much innings that will be tracked or be important, but rather pitches.
Yes, throws will be counted, and Warthen couldn’t resist a dig about the notoriously S-L-O-W working Antonio Bastardo, who thankfully is gone.
Opening Day starter Noah Syndergaard raised some eyebrows when he arrived at camp stating that he intended to throw harder this year, after everyone has been in his ear about dialing it back. So what did Warthen tell “Thor”?
And how about the one glaring glitch in Syndergaard’s game — his difficulty in holding men on and preventing the stolen base?
Zack Wheeler exhibited some tenderness after his recent bullpen session, which Warthen said was not a huge concern for him. But Warthen confirmed that the Mets will take things cautiously with a pitcher who’s been idle for two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The prevalent thought at the moment is to keep Wheeler as a starter, albeit with restrictions, keeping his innings limit somewhere in the low 100s.
And it is highly unlikely that Wheeler will work out of the bullpen for several reasons.
And how does Warthen envision all of this coming together in 2017?
And it’s a long way from here to there.
C U soon