The first week of spring training, New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was said to have suffered a setback. Yesterday, Friday, Wheeler made his first start of the spring, continuing his long road back from Tommy John surgery.
Wheeler missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons after undergoing the surgery in 2015. He was expected to come back during the 2016 season, but was never healthy enough to take the risk. Wheeler began the spring fully healthy, however after his first bullpen session the team worried he suffered a setback. He was shutdown for a day due to elbow tenderness. He was able to return to his normal routine to next day. Which brings us to today.
Zack made his first start in two years against the Atlanta Braves Friday afternoon. He was able to pitch two innings, striking out one, allowing two hits, one run, and walking one. The one run he allowed came via the long ball.
Wheeler looked solid, he displayed a beautiful curveball resulting in his only strikeout. His fastball topped out at 94 MPH. A scout told Marc Carig of Newsday.com that Wheeler seemed to be “conserving himself,” which explains why he only topped out at 94.
Carig also heard that the righty’s delivery was “smooth,” and the ball “looked good coming out.” This is definitely a step in the right direction for Wheeler.
After his outing, Wheeler talked to Mark Bowman of MLB.com about his performance. “Overall, I’m happy with it. I just wanted to go out there get my work in and come out of it healthy. That’s what happened.”
The Mets are still unsure how they will use Wheeler during this upcoming season, however this is a big step forward for the 26-year old starting pitcher.