The Mets have announced that right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler will start on Wednesday as the team visits the Miami Marlins. At the end of spring training, Wheeler was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas, and Seth Lugo was named to a spot in the team’s rotation to take the place of Jason Vargas, who is working his way back from hand surgery after his glove hand was struck by a line drive in a spring training game.
Wheeler was excellent on Friday night in his first start with Vegas. He pitched five innings, gave up one run on three hits, and struck out six while walking just one opposing batter. Earlier in spring training, it had seemed that he and Steven Matz were in a battle for a spot in the rotation.
With the four games that precede Wednesday set to have been started by Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom, Wheeler’s start would mark the first time to those five pitchers have taken a turn through the rotation together—something the team and its fans have long dreamed of seeing.
The Mets will have to make a move with their active roster to bring Wheeler up. If the team sticks with twelve pitchers and a five-player bench, it would stand to reason that a pitcher would be optioned. Hansel Robles, Jacob Rhame, and Paul Sewald would seem to be the most likely options among pitchers on the active roster with options available. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have them too, but they’ve been too good early in the season to send to the minors for ten days.