Mets must scrap Wheeler bullpen plan after elbow 'tenderness'

photo Mets must scrap Wheeler bullpen plan after elbow 'tenderness' images

photo of Mets must scrap Wheeler bullpen plan after elbow 'tenderness'

Mets must scrap Wheeler bullpen plan after elbow 'tenderness' : Zack Wheeler will play catch Thursday and is expected to throw in the bullpen again on Friday, but the Mets will be watching carefully.

PORT ST. LUCIE — We should remember it all began with a blister. Even if the Mets say the tenderness in Zack Wheeler’s elbow is not really a concern, it raises some eyebrows. The righthander experienced “tenderness,” in his elbow after his first official bullpen session of spring training and was put on anti-inflammatory medication. He will play catch Thursday and is expected to throw in the bullpen again on Friday, but the Mets will be watching carefully.

There was no panic at Tradition Field Wednesday.

“He had a little bit of tenderness after his last bullpen,” Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re not going to push it. We want to see this kid get healthy and once he gets healthy, stay healthy.

“We will have kid gloves with him.”

Zack Wheeler got tip on Tommy John rehab from Jacob deGrom

But the Mets were not panicking two years ago when Wheeler’s adventure began with what the Mets announced was a blister and soreness in his elbow.

So whether the Mets are downplaying this latest issue or not, it’s enough to squash the idea of even toying with putting Wheeler in the bullpen as part of his comeback.

Warthen has described Wheeler as “a special arm,” and the 26-year-old showed flashes of that when he last pitched in the majors in 2014. The Mets rotation is filled with “special arms,” like Matt Harvey, coming off surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Jacob deGrom, coming off surgery to move his ulnar nerve, and Steven Matz, who is coming off surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow.

They are fabulous talents who are also reminders of how careful you have to be with these pitchers.

Mets Insider: Wheeler tells Alderson he wants to stay

While the Mets are going to extremes to protect those arms — not allowing them to throw during pitchers fielding practice and having them throw every third day rather than the traditional two — they have continued to float the idea of using Wheeler as a reliever.

This latest incident makes it look even more ridiculous.

Wheeler is the rare pitcher who has taken two seasons to come back from Tommy John surgery, which has a recovery time usually between 12 and 18 months. He had the surgery in March 2015 and was expected back in the middle of the 2016 season. He suffered several setbacks, however, including a stitch from the surgery needing to be surgically removed and irritation of the nerve in his elbow. He was eventually shut down with a flexor muscle strain.

On the surface, the idea of using him in the bullpen could work mathematically. This winter Mets GM Sandy Alderson said that to capitalize on his live arm and maximize the limited innings Wheeler would have in his first season back from surgery, the Mets would consider using him out of the bullpen.

Zack Wheeler, Mets avoid arbitration, agree to 1-year, $800K deal

While manager Terry Collins said the Mets had not decided on an innings limit for Wheeler, Warthen speculated Wednesday it would be in the low 100s. Wheeler’s starts would be extremely limited, so the Mets see putting him in the bullpen as a way to get more out of him.

But, that plan makes no sense when you look beyond the numbers and look at what has happened to the Mets’ pitching staff over the last three years.

Wheeler has always been a pitcher who takes longer to bounce back, Warthen said. Unlike the Mets’ other starters, Wheeler always throws his bullpen sessions three days after a start compared to the traditional two.

“It’s always been difficult for him to recover between starts. Tough for him to throw bullpens. A lot of pitchers are like that, they don't recover well maybe until the fifth day.

Why wait? Mets need to get David Wright work at first base now

“We have to be careful when he's throwing next to the rest of those guys, because he wants to be one of the (starting) five and you can’t blame him for that. He earned it a long time ago,” Warthen said. “We have to be extremely careful of this kid, because it’s a special arm and it needs to be healthy when he gets back.”

And putting him in the bullpen just isn’t a fit.

Warthen seemed to be making that case Wednesday, arguing instead to use Wheeler as a spot starter and occasional sixth man in the rotation to limit Wheeler's workload — and keep all their starters healthy.

This latest incident may not be a setback in Wheeler’s long and difficult comeback, but it should be a warning sign to the Mets. Listen to Warthen and Wheeler’s body and scrap this ridiculous idea of making Wheeler a reliever.  

Send a Letter to the Editor

Source www.nydailynews.com.


related Mets must scrap Wheeler bullpen plan after elbow 'tenderness'

Valentine's Day pro tip: Try not to snore before dinner

I've always been a romantic. (cough)

Best Chris Farley movie: 'Tommy Boy' or 'Black Sheep'

Chris Farley would be 53 years old Wednesday. What's his best movie?

Laverne Cox makes history (again!) as transgender lawyer on CBS series 'Doubt'

With her role on the show, Cox, an Alabama native, has become the first transgender person to play a transgender character in a major, recurring role on network television. "Doubt"

Rumor the German shepherd wins best in show at Westminster 2017 (photos)

Rumor was crowned America's top dog Tuesday night when, a year after a near miss on the very same green carpet, she came out of retirement to win best in show at the Westminster

Mobile's Garrick Ogburn is the happiest chef you'll ever meet

That guy making healthy meals from scratch in the little cafe at the Y? Yeah, he's a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

The Masked Observer goes wobbling with the Conde Explorers

It's OK to be common during Carnival. For the season of revelry raises us all to a certain level that the mundane and tedious can't quite touch.

Damon Johnson talks Black Star Riders, Alice Cooper, teaching Sting how to play 'Sweet Emotion'

Alabama native, former Brother Cane frontman also looks back on his first guitar and concerts that rocked his youth.

Samford basketball comes up short in 79-77 road decision at ETSU

The Samford University basketball team's run of heartbreaking losses continued Wednesday as the Bulldogs suffered a 79-77 defeat on the road against the ETSU Buccaneers in a

Samford heads to ETSU for pivotal SoCon road test Wednesday

The Samford University basketball team will play its third Southern Conference road game in seven days Wednesday as the Bulldogs travel to face the red-hot ETSU Buccaneers at 6

Samford's Burns named to NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List

Samford relief pitcher Wyatt Burns received yet another preseason honor Monday as the Bulldogs' junior native of Pinson, Alabama, was named to the 2017 Stopper of the Year Watch

Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader; Sets School Record With 27 Runs in One Game

University of Mobile baseball team earned two more wins as they swept a doubleheader over Concordia College Selma on Tuesday afternoon. The Rams (7-2) won game one 3-2 and followed

Have the wedding of champions at this luxury golf resort in Georgia

At Champions Retreat, an event barn, luxury cottages, and three private golf courses make for a destination wedding experience unlike any other.

Love Landmarks: Stories of real-life romance from the heart of Birmingham

Six stories of love from the Magic City, plus a few tips on how to find it.

Bags with Benefits: How one Alabama company crafts beautiful bags and helps the community

At Biscuit Leather Company, making bags and helping others go hand-in-hand.

Local artist and McDonald's franchiser hosts annual art contest

McDonald's franchiser Larry Thornton celebrates the power of art and Black History Month through an annual contest for students in Central Alabama.

Sweeney vows to fight closure of asphalt refinery

Officials gathered Wednesday night to talk about efforts to save the Paulsboro facility.

With UberEATS, the ride-hailing app delivers for $4.99

Starting Thursday, the ride-hailing app will pick up and deliver takeout orders for $4.99, allowing two-door car owners and cyclists to join its freelance work force

Hudson artists polish off their favorite protest songs for ACLU benefit

The mix of politics and the popular song has been an American tradition since the birth of the nation, but the protest song – mixing rock and folk to express political outrage,

Former Morristown funeral director remembered for humor and generosity

Meade Vernon Rowe Sr. was sometimes referred to as 'Mr. Morristown' and was a familiar figure around town.

Robin becomes Batman: Seton Hall's Khadeen Carrington delivers best game of career

Khadeen Carrington had the best game of his career against Seton Hall with 41 points versus Creighton.

mmc-news.com