SAN DIEGO — Zack Wheeler called it “small” and “stupid” but something that he and the Mets are not willing to push too far given his history. Wheeler was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday with that the team is calling a “stress reaction” in the bone of his right upper arm. The righthander has been struggling lately in his comeback from 2015 Tommy John surgery and this is his second trip to the DL in just over a month.
“I think it’s something that came a long from not pitching for two years and just ramping it back up” Wheeler said Monday. “I knew something might happen this season. I didn’t expect something this harsh. It’s something I can’t help.”
After believing he was going through a period of dead-arm, the Mets had placed Wheeler on the DL with biceps tendinitis in late June. He said doctors did not tell him if these were connected.
“I just know I sort of expected bumps in the road coming back this year. It’s unfortunate, because everything else is awesome,” Wheeler said.
After two, set-back filled years recovering from the surgery, the Mets had initially planned on leaving Wheeler in extended spring training and easing him back this season. Through his first 11 games, Wheeler looked good. He had 3.45 ERA over the first 62.2 innings he pitched this season.
But that could be catching up with him and he and the Mets are not going to risk it.
“It’s soreness, bone soreness. It kind of aches,” Wheeler said.”
Wheeler did not use the issue as an excuse, but he has been struggling.
Since June 13, Wheeler has allowed 26 earned runs over 23.2 innings pitched.
This is not only the second time Wheeler has gone on the disabled list, but he is the seventh Mets started to go on the disabled list this season. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo began the season on the DL. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Tommy Milone, who the Mets signed as a spot starter after Syndergaard went down, are all currently on the DL.
Wheeler’s next start would have been the Thursday, series finale here against the Padres. Instead the Mets will bring up Chris Flexen from Binghamton to make that start, Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Flexen has a 1.66 ERA in seven starts for the Double-A team. The 23-year-old began the year in Single-A St. Lucie.
“He’s pitching very well,” Collins said.
The Mets recalled Tyler Pill from Las Vegas Monday to shore up the bullpen. He was available for Monday night’s game.
Neil Walker played six innings at second base Sunday for Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis and was scheduled to play another minor league rehab game on Monday with the Triple-A club.
He went 1-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run scored. He played nine innings at second base. Walker is is 3-for-11 in two rehab games. He is expected back later this week.
Walker has been on the DL since June 15 with a partially torn left hamstring.
Brandon Nimmo, who is on a rehab assignment after having a partially deflated lung before the All-Star break, went 0-for-4 and played nine innings at center field.
The Mets signed right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo to a minor league contract. He was scheduled to start Monday night for Triple-A Las Vegas. In parts of five seasons in the major leagues, Albaladejo pitched for the Nationals, Yankees and Diamondbacks.
He appeared in 66 games in relief going 6-3 with a 4.34 ERA from 2007 to 2012. He was 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 16 starts for Bridgeport of the Independent Atlantic League this season.
After missing six games because of gastroenteritis, Mets’ top prospect Amed Rosario was back in the lineup for Triple-A Las Vegas Monday night.
The shortstop complained of the illness initially on Tuesday.