The latest on the hardball happenings in Florida.
Wary about Wheeler
Zack Wheeler, whose scheduled return from Tommy John surgery was significantly delayed last season due to multiple setbacks, is setting off alarm bells again. Pitching coach Dan Warthen told reporters that Wheeler was dealing with ‘tenderness’ in his throwing elbow just three days into camp.
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“We’re not going to push it because we want to see this kid healthy…so we’ll have kid gloves with him,” Warthen told the press on Wednesday.
The Mets’ coaching staff has already taken preventative measures to keep their starting rotation from getting hurt or fatigued this year, as pitchers have been banned from throwing during fielding drills. Terry Collins explained that decision to reporters on opening day of camp.
“Dan [Warthen] and I sat down and we thought that early in camp maybe we can save them 100 throws a day. I think pitchers throw too much too early, and we’re not going to do that this year.”
Collins also had a discussion with the Mets’ ‘Big Five’ regarding his season-long plans for them before camp began.
“I had a meeting with those guys,” he said. “I know people are saying, ‘Make 33-34 starts.’ I’m not even pushing that. I’m telling you five guys: If you get 30 starts apiece, that’s 150 games. And you guys are so good, I know we’re going to win the majority of those 150 games.’”
So far so good for Gleyber
Twenty-year-old Gleyber Torres is turning heads early on at Yankees’ camp while splitting time at shortstop and second base. Acquired from the Cubs as part of the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago, Torres has impressed scouts as he’s progressed through the Single-A system and has garnered attention from players throughout the Yankees organization.
“He can play,” Didi Gregorius said succinctly when asked about Torres by the New York Post.
“He’s as good a shortstop as I’ve ever played with,” Justus Sheffield, lefty pitcher and former Single-A teammate of Torres, told the Post. “He’s got range and great hands. And not having to pitch to him anymore is a help.”
“I think right now he should play short,” Yankees infield coach Joe Espada told the Post when asked about Torres playing both middle infield positions at camp. “Maybe later in his career…he’s gonna be asked to play somewhere else. If he grows into his body, he could be moved.”
Tyler Austin is expected to be out for up to six weeks after fouling a pitch off his left foot and suffering a small break, per the Daily News. Austin, 25, was taking reps at third base and the corner outfield spots in an attempt to earn a spot on the major league roster as a utility man. Chris Carter (the NL home run champion from last year who was signed earlier this month) and Greg Bird (who missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury but showed great promise in 2015) are expected to be the righty/lefty platoon at first this season. Austin hit .241 with five homers and 12 RBI in 83 ABs late last year.