MIAMI -- Zack Wheeler breezed through another strong outing Saturday night at Triple-A Las Vegas, striking out six over six innings of one-run ball. His ERA is down to 3.76, he has whiffed more than a batter per inning and he is almost certainly now weeks away from his big league debut.
None of it has registered on Terry Collins' radar.
"I've got enough on my plate right now," the Mets manager said Sunday. "I can't keep track of everybody in the organization all the time. Certainly, I know how he pitched. We all keep saying, 'He's on the way, he's on the way, he's on the way,' but he'll pitch his way here. When that time is, I have no idea. I didn't get on the Internet last night to see how he was doing."
All signs continue to point to Wheeler making his debut in two weeks, when the Mets play five games in four days in Atlanta. Barring injury, that is the first time after the projected Super Two cutoff that the Mets will need an extra starter. Had they called up Wheeler for a spot start Saturday in Miami, they would have needed to send him back down immediately or risk paying him significantly more money in the future as a Super Two player.
Those decisions fall under general manager Sandy Alderson's domain. Collins' job is to worry about the 25 players currently in the clubhouse.
But when Wheeler does arrive, Collins and Alderson will need to figure out whom to bump from the rotation. Until last week, Dillon Gee was the leading candidate. But Gee's 12-strikeout performance against the Yankees quieted such talk at a time when all five rotation members have been pitching well.
Such situations do have a way of working themselves out, often because of unexpected injuries. So Collins understands that there is no point in speculating now, when so much can change in the next two weeks.
"I don't worry about it till the day it comes around," he said. "I've got to figure out how to score some runs today. That's the only thing I'm concerned about right now, is who to play, where they fit, how we're going to score. When Sandy tells me, 'Hey look, we're calling up this guy or that guy,' then I'll figure out how he fits in."
Weekend could be sign of things to come for Davis
MIAMI -- Four hundred and twenty-five feet is a long way from home plate, long enough to prove unreachable for many Major League hitters. That Ike Davis achieved that distance with his fourth-inning homer Sunday, a two-run shot to straightaway center, spoke to his raw abilities as a hitter.
For most of this season, such skills have been dormant. But Davis showed real signs of life this weekend in Miami, finishing 3-for-10 with a homer, a double and three RBIs.
Though he is not ready to predict the same type of breakout that occurred for him around this time last year, Davis does believe this could be the start of something significant.
"Really, I've been hitting the ball decent for the last four or five games," Davis said. "It's good that one went over the fence, and I feel like obviously I'm having better at-bats. I'm putting the ball in play more and hitting the ball more solid. Hopefully I continue to do this."
Davis' latest mechanical tweaks came last week, in the form of lowered hands and a more upright stance. Despite his uncertainty whether that has played a role in his revival, Davis is hitting .333 since his final at-bat on May 24, with three multi-hit games over that stretch. Perhaps more telling, after a crippling run of strikeouts from mid- to late-May, he has whiffed just twice in his last 16 plate appearances.
"I'm making solid contact again," Davis said. "That helps. I'm not striking out as much. I've just got to grind it out. There's a lot of games left. We'll see what happens over a longer period of time."
In retrospect, Davis' breakout last year came on June 9, when he singled and drew two walks at Yankee Stadium. He smashed a home run three days later, the first of 27 he would hit from that point until the end of the season.
It remains to be seen if his breakout this year will be as dramatic, or if he will even break out at all. But Davis has at least temporarily staved off talk of a Minor League demotion, a real possibility as recently as late last week.
"He's a huge part of our lineup," manager Terry Collins said. "If he gets it going, we're going to change things offensively for sure."
• The Mets plan to give Jon Niese an extra day to rest his balky left shoulder, starting Matt Harvey on regular rest Friday at Citi Field and Niese the following day. Niese, who missed Saturday's start with a bout of left shoulder tendinitis, will test his arm for the first time in a bullpen session Tuesday.