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Zack Wheeler expected to be called up, but it's not official

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch during

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Alejandra Villa

Zack Wheeler's debut with the Mets could take place at home this weekend against the Cubs or near Wheeler's hometown when the Mets travel to Atlanta for five games beginning June 17.

The Mets seem undecided and still are officially mum on when the organization's top pitching prospect will be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas. "He's not starting tomorrow," said Jay Horwitz, the team's public relations director and resident humorist.

Wheeler pitched Friday night in a 12-5 victory over Tacoma. It was a so-so performance if it served as a prelude to his major-league debut. Wheeler allowed four earned runs and eight hits in 42/3 innings.

Manager Terry Collins seemed satisfied. "I saw the numbers, saw the report. He gave up a few runs, but that's 'Welcome to the [Pacific Coast] league.' When you look at hits given up in that league, you just don't worry about it too much. Seven strikeouts in the innings that he pitched are a lot. Just goes to show, when he's around the plate, he's going to be plenty good."

Wheeler is 4-1 with a 4.14 ERA. He has 66 strikeouts in 63 innings. Is he minored out?

"He may be bored. I can't answer that. I'm not there," Collins said. "When we had our conversations in spring training, one of the things I told him: Pitch your way out of there. Don't just wait for the phone to ring. Make the phone ring."

 

Aardsma up from Vegas

The Mets called up former Yankees righthander David Aardsma from Las Vegas. The 31-year-old had three saves and a 1.13 ERA in eight games. He was designated for assignment by the Yankees on March 29 and picked up by the Marlins, who released him May 15. He had elbow ligament surgery in July 2011 and appeared in one game with the Yankees last season.

His role? "No idea. Just here to pitch," he said. "Whatever role [Collins] wants me in, I'll do it."

He had a 1-2-3 12th inning against the Marlins in Saturday's 2-1 loss in 20 innings.

Aardsma offered a scouting report on Vegas teammate Wheeler: "He's had great stuff. He has some really good life on his fastball. He's still young, so it's just a matter of consistency. He's calm, relaxed. You don't always get a good read off of him. He has that really level head. I saw him struggle in an outing, I saw him do great. He acted exactly the same, which is exactly what you want."

Aardsma said ERAs are elevated by the atmosphere. "You have to understand you have to keep the ball down, you have to pitch down. If you do that, you give yourself the best chance. If the ball gets up in the air, you just forget about it."

To make room for Aardsma, the Mets sent Collin McHugh to Las Vegas. In other moves, Rick Ankiel (.182 average) was designated for assignment and Kurt Nieuwenhuis was recalled from Las Vegas.

 

Niese ready to go

Friday's rainout gave lefthander Jonathon Niese (shoulder tendinitis) an extra day's rest. He will start Sunday afternoon against the Marlins. "It was kind of a relief to get the MRI back [and see] that it was nothing," he said. "Whatever happens, you have to battle through it."

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