Mets RHP Zack Wheeler will not pitch again this season, the team said Thursday.
He had only been doing light throwing at the team's complex in Port St. Lucie as he continued his rehab from a stress reaction in his pitching arm, Terry Collins said last week.
According to Collins, Wheeler had yet to be instructed to ramp up his throwing program.
In his first full year back from having Tommy Surgery in 2015, Wheeler ends 2017 at 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts. He also spent time on the DL earlier this season with biceps tendinitis.
"The situation we are in, why push it and risk actually breaking the bone when next year looks a little more important than right now," Wheeler said Thursday afternoon. "Hopefully next year I can be healthy and get back out there and pitch every fifth day."
Wheeler receives a mound visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports
Wheeler told reporters that the humerus bone in his pitching arm had weakened from the two years of being mostly inactivate, which left rest as the only option at this point in the season.
"The elbow felt fine, the shoulder felt good and this sorta crept up on me," Wheeler explained. "I am pretty confident going into next season and we're taking all the right steps to heal this thing up and be ready for next season."
In 66 career starts since being acquired as a prospect from the Giants for Carlos Beltran in 2011, Wheeler, 27, is 21-23 with a 3.90 ERA, 352 strike outs, a 1.39 WHIP and 2.0 WAR through 371 innings pitched.
"I started out well and it just went downhill," Wheeler said of his 2017. "It's not how I wanted to finish the season, but I got some good, quality innings in and it was a step in the right direction."
At this point, there was absolutely no rush get Wheeler back on a mound. Frankly, given that he had already thrown close to 100 innings, and given his ailments the last year, it made sense to simply shut him down for the season.
Wheeler had been dealing with pain since early June. This coincides with the time his season began to fall apart. He had a 3.45 ERA and allowed just six home runs in his first 11 starts; then he had a 9.89 ERA with nine home runs allowed over his next six starts.
That said, a lot of pitchers like to throw in a game during the last week or two of the season so they can properly set up their offseason throwing programs. This is partly why you'll see Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia push to come back, even if it's just to throw in one game. I'm sure Wheeler was thinking the same.
My hunch is the Mets were likely slow-playing Wheeler's rehab since there's nothing to be gained by rushing him to start when the team is so far out of it in the standings.