Zack Wheeler denies he threw at Giants' Hunter Pence
Giants manager Bruce Bochy told KNBR radio in San Francisco he thought that Zack Wheeler's plunking of Hunter Pence on Sunday appeared to be a "cheap shot." But the Mets righthander called the notion of any intent behind the pitch "just dumb."
"They were up 3-2 in the third and I obviously didn't have my stuff," Wheeler told Newsday Tuesday night before the Mets' game against the Brewers. "That's the last thing I would want to do is hit him right there and put him on base to lead off the inning. He's a threat on the bases, so no, I didn't do it on purpose."
Pence was clearly upset when he took Wheeler's 94-mph fastball to the ribs, one pitch after he took a wild swing on a 2-and-0 offering.
"They think I did it because of his 2-0 swing he took," Wheeler said. "If that swing did bother me, which it didn't, I wouldn't hit him. I would laugh and try and strike him out."
Wheeler, a former Giants farmhand, insisted he had "no reason" to throw at Pence.
Despite a dearth of minor-league at-bats, general manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets promoted Travis d'Arnaud late last season "to see what would happen." On Saturday, the catching prospect was demoted with a .180 batting average.
Said Alderson: "It hasn't worked out as we would have hoped, or he would have hoped."
Pitcher Jeremy Hefner threw off the slope of the mound Monday for the first time since Tommy John surgery . . . The Mets are confident about signing first-round draft pick Michael Conforto. "I don't expect it will take very long," Alderson said. "Days rather than weeks." . . . Eric Young Jr. (hamstring) is still not running at full speed, though he is hitting at instructional camp . . . Juan Lagares (hamstring) is still limited to exercises.