Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler sits in the dugout after...

Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning. (June 30, 2013) Credit: AP

Zack Wheeler's impressive rookie season is over.

Manager Terry Collins announced Saturday that Wheeler will not make another start this season because of shoulder stiffness he felt during his last outing.

But before Mets fans panic that Wheeler has joined Matt Harvey on the list of injured phenoms, both the manager and the pitcher insisted he is fine and that this move is being made out of an abundance of caution.

Even the Mets' official Twitter feed said of Wheeler: "He is healthy."

Still, you can understand if Mets fans gasped when they learned the news. An injury to Wheeler would be a cruel 1-2 punch after fans found out about Harvey's elbow injury, which the righthander is trying to rehab but still could require Tommy John surgery.

But Wheeler isn't expected to see a doctor or get stuffed into an MRI tube to make sure his shoulder is OK. He's just going to miss his next scheduled start Monday and end his rookie campaign with a 7-5 record and a 3.42 ERA in 17 big-league starts.

"With what's happened with Matt, it's certainly not the time to take chances right now," Collins said. "So one more start is not going to mean that much. As a matter of fact, he wanted to throw a bullpen today and I said no. So he was fine. He was fine [Friday]. After he got his treatment, he played catch, he said he felt great. Talked to [general manager Sandy Alderson] and we just decided it's not worth it to run him out there for seven more innings."

Asked if he is concerned, Wheeler said: "No. It's just a group decision. I'm 20 innings over what I had last year. Just a little stiff, so just being cautious . . . It's nothing serious."

Wheeler threw exactly 100 innings for the Mets after logging 682/3 with Triple-A Las Vegas. In 2012, he finished the minor-league season with 149 innings.

Wheeler said he felt the stiffness during his last outing on Tuesday, when he went five innings in a no-decision against the Giants. He allowed four runs, three hits and six walks and struck out three in his final five innings of the season.

Wheeler and Collins agreed that command of his electric stuff is what the 23-year-old has to improve upon.

"Gave me what we certainly had hoped for when we called him up," Collins said. "We had heard obviously all the stories without seeing him pitch very much. We heard all the stories about what a great arm he had, what his upside is. And he lived up to it in every which way. I'll tell you what: For a guy in his first time in the big leagues, he was impressive."

If Harvey is not successful in rehabbing his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, Wheeler could be the Mets' top starter in 2014.

As long as he stays healthy, that is.

Notes & quotes: David Wright homered for the second straight night after coming off the disabled list as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-4, in a rain-shortened game. Play was halted in the top of the seventh and the game was called after a delay of 1 hour, 28 minutes. It was Wright's 18th homer of the season. Daniel Murphy had a tiebreaking homer in a four-run sixth that gave the Mets a 5-1 lead. Juan Lagares had a two-run triple and Travis d'Arnaud hit an RBI double. Dillon Gee (12-10) pitched a six-inning complete game . . . Collins said Wright will have Sunday off . . . Aaron Harang will replace Wheeler Monday night in Cincinnati.


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