Zack Wheeler’s goal of making the Mets’ decision on him a difficult one this spring is off to a terrific start.
The fireballing phenom had early jitters yesterday, but pitched two scoreless innings in the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Nationals to open the Grapefruit League season.
Stephen Strasburg brought star appeal to the game — and promptly allowed a two-run homer to Ruben Tejada in the first inning — but the 22-year-old Wheeler certainly has the tools to potentially approach the Nationals ace.
The reassuring Wheeler needed came from his teammates after he walked the first batter he faced, Steve Lombardozzi, and fired a pitch off catcher John Buck’s mitt that was ruled a passed ball.
Buck and David Wright then led the procession to the mound to calm the rookie.
“They were like, ‘Just settle down — they can’t hit you,’ ” said Wheeler, who had faced Buck, Marlon Byrd and Justin Turner in live batting practice earlier this week to give the Mets their first glimpse of the righty. “They all saw me the other day, so they were like, ‘We saw what you did the other day, just go after them, go pitch.’ ”
An Amazin’ sight in Mets’ spring debut
New York Post | Feb 24