The Mets are Being “Conservative” With Zack Wheeler…But Shoulders are Scary

Wheeler Vegas HeadThe news, as you already know, if you’re reading this blog is that Zack Wheeler is heading to New York to visit the Hospital for Special Surgery for an examination of his sore right collarbone.

Mets assistant GM John Ricco as quoted by multiple sources:

“I think we’re being a little bit conservative given who it is and making sure our guys see him right away.”

“It was nothing that happened during the last outing. It was something that he felt a couple of days after. It’s near his right clavicle. That’s all I have right now until we have a doctor see him tomorrow. I think we’re being a little bit conservative given who it is.”

According to Wheeler’s agent, Al Goetz, as reported by Marc Carig in Newsday, the exam is “totally precautionary” and the issue has “[b]een more of an annoyance than anything else for the last couple of starts. He could have continued and [it] wasn’t affecting his performance.”

If Wheeler has really been dealing with this soreness for the last few starts, it has corresponded with his best pitching of 2013. In his last three starts,  over 20 innings, he has a 1.35 ERA and 19 strikeouts against three walks while holding opponents to .192/.224./233 line in 76 plate appearances.

(So, I recommend more clavicle soreness for all pitchers. Ok, bad idea.)

In all seriousness, it’s in everyone’s interest to downplay the seriousness of this right now. And it might be relatively unimportant in the long run or even in the short run if Wheeler misses just one start and his shoulder feels fine. However, that seems unlikely given that the Mets have flown Wheeler from Las Vegas back to New York.

It’s something. The collarbone in essentially the top of the shoulder. Pitchers need their shoulders healthy to pitch (duh!). Any discomfort in Wheeler’s shoulder is ominous. Wheeler’s previous health issues in the minors have been limited to hand and blister issues. I cannot help but wonder if what is being described as “collarbone” for now, a relatively unusual diagnosis for baseball players, is associated with other issues in Wheeler’s shoulder.

Do not panic yet. But hey, lets see some MRIs.