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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Wheeler, Warthen work to avoid big tipping

By Adam Rubin

DENVER -- Dan Warthen went to work with Zack Wheeler on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field, trying to get the rookie to avoid tipping his pitches, which became an issue against the Chicago White Sox in Wheeler’s last outing.

Wheeler won’t throw his bullpen session until Friday at Citi Field. (He always throws on the third day after his start.) But Wheeler did do some dry mechanical work without actually firing a baseball Thursday alongside Warthen.

The change involves the positioning and openness of Wheeler’s glove, according to Warthen.

“I don’t think it was that big of a deal,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to change it up a little bit and try some new things.”

Said Warthen: “A couple of things that we wanted to do to open up his glove, maybe hide his pitches a little bit more. It’s things you guys all know about. It was announced that he is tipping his pitches. So we tried to rectify that situation. Nothing more than that.”

Warthen said the change involves the setup, not really the delivery.

“Open up his glove, keep it at the waist -- kind of what we’ve done with [Jeremy] Hefner, kind of what [Adam] Wainwright does,” the pitching coach said. “Basically you open the glove, put your hand in there, instead of putting the ball in the glove. Then you can go ahead and rectify the situation pretty easily.”

Wheeler described his imminent arrival at Citi Field as a Met for the first time as no big deal. He will throw a 40- to 50-pitch bullpen session Friday, in advance of Sunday’s home debut opposite Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals.

Wheeler has been to Citi Field before, including last September to be named the Sterling Award winner as the top performer for Double-A Binghamton.

“Obviously it’s the home park back in New York,” Wheeler said. “But it’s just going to be another game.”