Mets stick to plan, but eagerly await Wheeler

Mets stick to plan, but eagerly await Wheeler

MIAMI -- Part of the reason why the Mets are waiting until after the Super 2 cutoff to call up Zack Wheeler is that they want his promotion to be for good. That strategy paid off last year with Matt Harvey, who did not arrive in Flushing until he was truly ready. The Mets hope it will be the same way with Wheeler.

So although the Mets may have been tempted to promote their top pitching prospect for Saturday's spot start in Miami, they called upon Collin McHugh instead. The reason? They did not want to have to send Wheeler back to the Minors after a successful start, a poor start, or anything in between.

In Terry Collins' words, "When Zack comes, we hope he stays here for the rest of his time.

"Had Zack Wheeler been selected to make this one start and he came up and pitched a one-hitter, he'd have been back the next day," the manager said. "That would have led you guys [the media] to jump off a cliff."

And so the Mets continue to point quietly to mid-June for Wheeler's debut, potentially during the Atlanta series that begins June 17. It is a wait that will be easier to stomach if the team's current starters continue pitching as they have been, entering Friday's play with 47 strikeouts and one walk over their last six games.

Collins hinted that Wheeler's impending arrival may have played a role in that success.

"We know that some place along the line here, at some time, Zack Wheeler's on his way," Collins said. "Whose job is he going to take? We don't know yet. But hopefully it's a dogfight."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.