As Zack Wheeler told reporters following the Mets 6-3 win over the Pirates on Friday, he's "been through this before."
The 29-year-old right-hander has been at the heart of trade rumors often in his Mets career, and this season is no different. In his return from the IL on Friday, Wheeler tossed 5.1 innings of three-run ball, allowing six hits and striking out seven, which was good enough for his seventh win of the season.
With Mets fans as keenly aware about the trade talk as Wheeler himself, he was treated to a nice ovation after he was removed from the game in the sixth.
"I got a nice (round of) applause and I appreciate that from the fans," Wheeler said. "That's the only time I was really thinking about it, because I was out there trying to concentrate on winning a ballgame."
Wheeler also acknowledged that he can't avoid the headlines surrounding the impending trade deadline, but he makes sure it isn't a distraction once he toes the rubber.
"You just try to stay locked in," he said. "I've been through this before. It's kind of just noise at this point. You've got to stay locked in because if you don't, you're going to go out there and do crappy, worried about other things and not making your pitches."
Manager Mickey Callaway liked what he saw from Wheeler in his return to the mound and nicely summed up his thoughts on his starting pitcher.
"He's been a heck of a pitcher for us, and I hope he continues to be," Callaway said.