New York Mets pitcher, Zack Wheeler opened some eyes on Thursday as he took another successful step in the road to recovery with his second Grapefruit League start.
Wheeler pitched 2.1 innings while allowing two runs on three hits and striking out two. He threw 50 pitches on the day and showed great velocity, hitting 97-MPH on the radar gun with his fastball which sat mainly in the 94-96 MPH range. Wheeler spoke of his more polished second start after Thursday’s game.
“Last time I was getting dizzy and stuff — I was nervous,” Wheeler said. “It felt like I had never pitched in a big-league game before, but today I was a little more calm. Just moving forward it will get easier every time out.”
“Every start out sort of makes me realize that’s behind me, and I am just ready to move on and pitch for these guys during the season and hopefully win some games.” (NY Post)
While he is expected to be limited in the 125 inning range this season, there has now been chatter of Wheeler possibly breaking camp with the big league club and contributing from the start. It is unknown though if this will end up being the case but the next couple of starts could prove to provide those answers for Zack and the Mets.
Wheeler knows it is not something he can control and is ready to do whatever the team feels is best for himself and the organization.
“It’s honestly up to them what they want to do with me, whatever works,” Wheeler said. “There are innings limits, so whether they want to use them up early or late or who knows what? We have got a couple of different plans we can go with. I’m not going to get into that, but hopefully I can stay healthy. That is my biggest key this year, just staying healthy.”
The 26-year-old right-hander aims to make his first major league start since 2014 this season and seems well on his way to doing so. Thursday’s start provided glimpses of what could be with Wheeler and hopes of him being able to return to form after missing so much time.
For the Mets and Wheeler though it is all about his health at this point and managing his arm and the steps he takes to be back for the long haul. He seems well on his way to producing in the 2017 season and according to him, he is ready to go now.
“I’m honestly ready to pitch right now, whether it be bullpen or starter,” Wheeler said. “I am ready to go as of right now. It’s up to them, though, and whatever they say I am fine with.”