16 May Getting to know…..N.Y. METS PITCHER ZACK WHEELER
Name: Zachary Harrison Wheeler
Born: May 30, 1990 (age 26) in
MLB debut: June 18, 2013, for the
New York Mets
Drafted by: the San Francisco Giants with the sixth overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. The Mets acquired Zack from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran 2017
After missing the 2015 &2016 seasons due to having Tommy John surgery, how does it feel to be back on the mound pitching for the Mets? Its been a long journey. It’s good to get back out there in front of the fans. My goal this year is to stay healthy. When did you know you wanted to play baseball for a living? A: Probably when I was 13 or 14. I couldn’t make a travel team to save my life. I wasn’t throwing hard and I was sort of short and skinny before I hit my growth. I was probably a little below-average baseball player and nobody wanted me on their team. And then going into my 16-year-old summer, I got on with the East Cobb Astros which is like the No. 1 team in East Cobb and that’s what started it all off. How much did you learn from your brother Adam, since he was a professional in Class A with the Yankees from 2001-04? A: Adam was selected by the New York Yankees in the 13th round of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft and pitched in their farm system for four years before his career was derailed by injury. He had good coaching and got to talk to a few big league guys. So when I was going into high school, he gave me a lot of advice. Most guys in high school don’t get to hear all of that stuff. So I think it sort of made me one step closer just knowing what to expect and just changing my demeanor out there on the mound. Being confident out there and not showing your emotions, that was the biggest thing he preached to me. Do you believe in innings limits? I hate innings limits, but I guess that is part of the game these days. I know I only have a certain number of innings, which is low. It is up to them how they will be used. I just want to be healthy. They’re the boss. Are you ok pitching out of the bullpen? I feel that guys that go to the bullpen get stuck in the bullpen, and I don’t want to do that. Either you are doing bad and you stay in the bullpen because you can’t be a starter, or you are doing really good and they can’t afford to move you out of the bullpen. So you are going to get stuck there, and that’s why I’m trying to let everybody know that I’m not a bullpen guy, I’m a starter. Who were your favorite pitchers growing up? A: Growing up near Atlanta, I enjoyed watching Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux. Favorite overall player: Chipper Jones Favorite meal? A: Mom’s home-cooked meat loaf, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.