ST. LOUIS -- As the Mets hoped and expected, top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler has no structural damage in his right arm, and will miss only one start for Triple-A Las Vegas.
"Feeling good and ready to get going again," Wheeler tweeted. "Thanks for all the kind words and concerns."
An MRI Wednesday in New York revealed only mild inflammation of the AC joint in Wheeler's shoulder. The right-hander received a cortisone shot and will skip his next start, but nothing beyond that.
"I'm very happy and relieved -- very relieved," manager Terry Collins said. "I was certainly very worried. Any time you have a kid with that time of talent and you talk about arm stuff -- especially when you talk about the shoulder area -- it scares you to death. So it's great news."
Assistant general manager John Ricco said that Wheeler's timetable to reach the big leagues "hasn't changed," meaning he should debut sometime after next month's estimated Super 2 arbitration cutoff. Because the Mets play five games in four days in Atlanta from June 17-20, that is the most logical week for Wheeler's first start.
But the timetable depends upon Wheeler's own progress. The right-hander has gone 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 19 strikeouts and three walks over his last three starts, after opening the year 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 19 walks in five outings.
"He's progressing," Ricco said. "I think the results have shown that. I don't think there's any one magic thing that we're looking for, but we talk on a start-by-start basis. We'll make a decision based on when we think the time is right."