MIAMI -- Zack Wheeler breezed through another strong outing Saturday night at Triple-A Las Vegas, striking out six over six innings of one-run ball. His ERA is down to 3.76, he has whiffed more than a batter per inning and he is almost certainly now weeks away from his big league debut.
None of it has registered on Terry Collins' radar.
"I've got enough on my plate right now," the Mets manager said Sunday. "I can't keep track of everybody in the organization all the time. Certainly, I know how he pitched. We all keep saying, 'He's on the way, he's on the way, he's on the way,' but he'll pitch his way here. When that time is, I have no idea. I didn't get on the Internet last night to see how he was doing."
All signs continue to point to Wheeler making his debut in two weeks, when the Mets play five games in four days in Atlanta. Barring injury, that is the first time after the projected Super Two cutoff that the Mets will need an extra starter. Had they called up Wheeler for a spot start Saturday in Miami, they would have needed to send him back down immediately or risk paying him significantly more money in the future as a Super Two player.
Those decisions fall under general manager Sandy Alderson's domain. Collins' job is to worry about the 25 players currently in the clubhouse.
But when Wheeler does arrive, Collins and Alderson will need to figure out whom to bump from the rotation. Until last week, Dillon Gee was the leading candidate. But Gee's 12-strikeout performance against the Yankees quieted such talk at a time when all five rotation members have been pitching well.
Such situations do have a way of working themselves out, often because of unexpected injuries. So Collins understands that there is no point in speculating now, when so much can change in the next two weeks.
"I don't worry about it till the day it comes around," he said. "I've got to figure out how to score some runs today. That's the only thing I'm concerned about right now, is who to play, where they fit, how we're going to score. When Sandy tells me, 'Hey look, we're calling up this guy or that guy,' then I'll figure out how he fits in."