ST. LOUIS — After missing two seasons because of a bumpy rehab from Tommy John surgery, Mets righthander Zack Wheeler is on pace to finish the season with 140 innings. For now, the Mets seem comfortable with that number.
According to a source, the Mets have no plans to artificially manage Wheeler’s innings during the second half of the season.
Though manager Terry Collins said innings management might be a consideration — listing options such as shutting him down or moving him to the bullpen — he said “nothing’s been discussed.”
Wheeler enters his final start of the first half Saturday with a 3-5 record and a 5.01 ERA, a number that jumped from 3.45 on June 7 because of a rough patch that Collins thinks was brought on by fatigue.
Wheeler’s innings were limited in the first half because of a string of short outings and a stint on the 10-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. But the more he can log this season, the closer he can get to not having to worry about limitations next season.
“His velocity has come,” Collins said. “We saw a great improvement in the command of his secondary pitches. Then he went through that issue where I think he ran into a little fatigue and he lost the feel for the command of his secondary stuff. That’s why it’s important that we took a look at where he’s at now.”
With Wednesday’s rainout in Washington, the Mets could have skipped Wheeler’s next outing until the second half as another way to shave innings. But Collins said it was an easy decision to keep him in the rotation.
“We’re trying to get back in the race,” he said. “The development side has got to take a back seat right now. We need to get back in this race, and that’s by putting our best guys out there.”