Mets, Yankees spring training notebook: Zack Wheeler back on the hill - Metro US

Mets, Yankees spring training notebook: Zack Wheeler back on the hill

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The latest news from Mets and Yankees training camps in Florida.

Wheeler returns with strong effort

Zack Wheeler gave up one run on two hits and a walk while striking out one in two innings of work on Friday. More importantly, Wheeler is starting to feel like his old self after his first big league action in over two years.

“I was kind of nervous about getting big-league guys out,” Wheeler told reporters after the game. “I didn’t know if I could still do it.”

Wheeler seemed to have all of his pitches working. His fastball touched 94 mph, and his curveball, which helped register his lone punch-out of the game, was as sharp as ever.

“It’s nice to have my curveball back,” he said. “I knew it would come. It’s just a feel thing. By the end, I didn’t think twice about it.”

Wheeler dealt with plenty of bad luck as he attempted to return from Tommy John surgery late last season and even suffered a minor setback early in camp, but he appears to be ready to go for 2017, much to the delight of his manager.

“There’s always been something that kept him from making a huge step forward,” Collins told the New York Post. “Now he’s back.”

The 26-year-old fireballer is expected to start the year in extended spring training and be capped at 125 innings once he makes it to the major league roster.

Power surge

Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda each went deep in Friday’s split-squad loss to the Astros, boosting the Mets’ home run total for the spring to an MLB-leading 22. Cespedes has homered four times this spring, and is batting an incredible .458 through 24 ABs.

Tebow experiment a swing-and-miss

Tim Tebow went 0-for-7 in two Grapefruit League games on Wednesday and Friday. He struck out three times, grounded into a double play and got picked off first base after reaching on a hit-by-pitch. He literally looked lost at times; at one point he was in the wrong on-deck circle during Wednesday’s game. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo insinuated that the Mets don’t plan on giving Tebow any more in-game at-bats this spring.

Severino struggling

Luis Severino had a 4.15 ERA through two starts this spring and labored through two innings against Team Canada on Thursday. Severino struck out four but allowed two runs (via home run) on four hits and a walk on 51 pitches. Joe Girardi noted that Severino’s changeup was highly effective, but noticed an area where the young hurler could improve.

“Fastball command is really, really important,” Girardi told the New York Post. “Being down in the zone is important for him, and when he got up today, he got hurt.”

Severino was solid in relief late last year, but he’d rather be toeing the rubber from the first inning on this season.

“I want to be a starter,” Severino told the Post. “I know I have to work on my fastball command. I just need to work with Larry [Rothschild] more.”

Rothschild, the Yankees pitching coach, is hopeful Severino will return to his 2015 form after a rocky 2016.

“Development sometimes takes different paths. He’s had those bumps in the road, and at the end of the day, you hope those make him better after going through them.”

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