Wheeler earns high marks


Zack Wheeler's latest Triple-A start earned him a great review from instructor Guy Conti. Wheeler, the team's top pitching prospect, threw 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball and struck out seven on Saturday for Triple-A Las Vegas. He gave up six hits and walked one.

"Guy [Conti] said it was very impressive. He thought [Wheeler's] composure and demeanor on the mound were really impressive. The numbers speak for themselves but he said, 'Terry [Collins], he handles himself really, really well,'" Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday before the Mets faced the Pirates. "That all comes with confidence that he's pitching good -- for me. I heard early in the season the opposite. Obviously he's happy with the way his mechanics are and where he's at. That confidence is building."

Since back-to-back rough starts in mid-April, when he gave up nine runs and walks in 9 1/3 innings, Wheeler has been pitching very well. Over his last three starts, Wheeler has thrown a combined 20 innings, giving up just three earned runs. He's struck out 19 in that span and surrendered just 14 hits.

One of the big decisions the Mets will face this year is when to call up their touted prospect. The team is 6-1 in games started by Matt Harvey, who is pitching Sunday, but is 8-18 in other games. No pitcher on the staff has pitched well save for Harvey, who has arguably been the best pitcher in the game through the first quarter of the season.

“That’s a call made by somebody else,” Collins said Friday. “I’m not here to answer the fans. I’m here to make sure we get these guys in this clubhouse to get better. I can’t worry about people that aren’t here. You know, I’d like to have [Albert] Pujols, too, but I don’t have him.

“What we’ve got to do is get the guys that we have in there and get them better, make sure they continue to improve and we start putting some points on the board. Again, we got a couple [runs] late, but we aren’t given them much room to wiggle on the mound, either.”