Mets playing it safe with Wheeler

VIERA, Fla. -- A cautious plan remains in place for Mets prospect Zack Wheeler, who will almost certainly miss his next start with a strained right oblique. But Wheeler felt "better" on Thursday, according to manager Terry Collins, and should return to the mound soon.

Collins said that Wheeler tested the injury with a series of motion exercises on Thursday morning without any pain. The Mets figure they will "have a real good read on where he's at" within three to five days, according to Collins, at which point Wheeler will probably throw a bullpen session.

The right-hander suffered a mild oblique strain during pitchers' batting practice on Wednesday, prompting the Mets to scratch him from his second Grapefruit League start. He is still unofficially slated to start Opening Day for Triple-A Las Vegas.