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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Wheeler doesn't mind being 'old news'

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With the bulk of the attention on next-big-thing Noah Syndergaard early in camp, Zack Wheeler does not mind being relatively under the radar entering his sophomore season.

"That's fine with me," Wheeler said Tuesday. "I don't have to have all the attention."

Wheeler, who often describes himself as chilled, said he is not more at ease in his second spring training with the club since he often is so relaxed anyway.

"It's about the same -- just go out there, pitch, just do my job," he insisted.

Wheeler went 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts spanning 100 innings for the Mets last season, beginning with his debut in Atlanta on June 18. Asked about his goals for improvement having had that experience, Wheeler said: "Just being more consistent, throwing more strikes and stuff."

Wheeler added that while his focus is on 2014, which will not include Matt Harvey, he does occasionally think about 2015 and beyond, when the Mets' rotation may be anchored by Harvey, Syndergaard and him as well as Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.

Wheeler, who grew up in Atlanta, agrees the potential is there to recreate that Greg Maddux-John Smoltz-Tom Glavine dynamic in Queens.

"I've said that before with those guys having grown up watching them -- this year is this year, but every once in a while you do think about the future," Wheeler said. "And you do see us and what the team is capable of. It looks pretty good."