Terry Collins spoke with reporters today and said that Zack Wheeler‘s bullpen today was the best he’s seen since his surgery. Wheeler threw 30 pitches at about 85-90% effort and incorporated curveballs.
Collins also mentioned that Wheeler could pitch in a Spring Training game on March 8th, after a day off. The rest of the “Fab Five” could start appearing in games on March 5th.
Original Post – Feb 20
First week of pitchers and catchers, check. First official team practice, check. Man what a week it has been for New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, who gave everyone including himself a scare but survived to tell the tale.
It all started out a week from yesterday, last Sunday, when pitchers and catchers officially reported to camp. Wheeler told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, “I hope I’m good. I hope I’m ready. I’ve done everything that I could. I will get back out there and pitch, and just be healthy.”
“Get back out there and pitch,” is exactly what Wheeler did. He threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Tuesday afternoon. All went well during the session and Wheeler looked real good.
However, following the bullpen session Wheeler began experiencing some “tenderness” in his elbow. Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, “we’re not going to push it.. we will have kid gloves with him.” The Mets did just that, and Wheeler took Wednesday off.
On Thursday, Wheeler went through his normal routine. He took some fielding practice and had a catch with pitching coach Dan Warthen. Everything went well and the Mets later said that they expected Wheeler to throw his next bullpen session over the weekend.
— New York Mets (@Mets) February 19, 2017
On Sunday, Wheeler (seen above) threw his second bullpen session of the spring. He threw a total of 21 pitches and felt good afterward. According to evaluators, he threw at about 75 percent strength and looked good. The Mets are hoping to put him back on a regular schedule, throwing every three days.
General manager Sandy Alderson told reporters that the Mets want to give their young right-hander time. “Right now he’s confident and we’re optimistic as well, but ultimately it’s been two years since he’s thrown so we have to see it. We’ve got to watch and see what develops in the next few weeks.”
Alderson added, “First and foremost, he’s got to be healthy. He threw today, and we’ll see how he recovers from that and build on that.”
Additionally, recent reports suggest that the Mets could have Wheeler start the season in extended spring training and then have him join the team later in the month so as not to rush him back. When he is ready to join the team, he will be in contention for the fifth starter spot, but he may also see some time out of the bullpen to help cut down his innings load.