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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Wheeler will start Thursday; Mejia on Friday

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler will take his regular turn in the Mets' rotation Thursday, and Jenrry Mejia will start one of the Mets' two games on Friday in Washington, D.C. against the Nationals.

Wheeler developed a blister on one of the fingers on his pitching hand during his last start, manager Terry Collins revealed Tuesday. But Wheeler threw a bullpen session before Tuesday's game, and he is ready to go in Thursday's series finale against the Braves.

"It’s cleaned up today, looks great, so we’re not gonna skip him," Collins said.

Wheeler lasted just 4 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Phillies, needing 106 pitches just to get that far. Collins said Wheeler didn't have the blister at the start of the game, but developed it along the way.

As for Mejia, he will be called up from Double-A Binghamton and "most likely" will start the first game of Friday's doubleheader, with Matt Harvey starting the other game.

Mejia started for the B-Mets this past Saturday and pitched six innings, giving up one run on three hits, with eight strikeouts and two walks.

The 23-year-old former top prospect, who had Tommy John surgery in May 2011, hasn't pitched in a major league game this season. Last year he made five appearances (three starts) for the Mets in September, going 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA.

On the disabled list since spring training with elbow tendon inflammation, Mejia has been working his way back towards the big leagues. In two starts with Binghamton, he is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA.

When asked why Mejia was the choice to be called up and start Friday, Collins initially said, "Because [GM] Sandy [Alderson] said he is the choice," eliciting laughter from reporters in the room.

Collins eventually expanded on his answer. "He’s throwing great -- he struck out eight the other night," Collins said. "[40-man] roster guy. Ready to pitch. [But] it’s a long way from Binghamton to D.C."