Zack Wheeler said he plans to battle to be the team’s Opening Day starter.
“I don’t see why I couldn’t do it,” Wheeler said (Newsday, Feb. 3).
Pitchers and catchers aren’t required to report to St. Lucie until Feb. 15. However, Wheeler and several other players have already arrived in Florida.
Wheeler finished last season 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA, 84 strikeouts and 100 innings pitched after making his debut in June.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
If it were me, I’d probably give the first start to Niese, because he did it last year, he’s been on the team longer than the other two and I like putting that type of spotlight and reward on his shoulders. I’d then go with Colon second, because he’s a veteran. I’d then throw Wheeler, because I want him annoyed and motivated to prove me wrong. He’s got a lot of fire. I love the idea of him and Matt Harvey, and eventually Noah Syndergaard, competing with one another to be the best pitcher on the team (and league). Harvey isn’t here, Syndergaard will start in Triple-A. So, I put Wheeler number three to keep him from feeling entitled.