Wheeler said he noticed discomfort in a July 2 start against the Yankees when he struck out eight in six and one-third innings. It worsened, he said, five days later in his final start before the All-Star break, an 8-3 loss to the Phillies in which he lasted only five innings and allowed six earned runs. When the shoulder didn’t improve with rest over the All-Star break, Wheeler spoke up.
“I tried to pitch through it, but it got a little too cranky,” he said. “I finally had to say something.” A magnetic resonance imaging exam, he said, showed no structural damage beyond the impingement.
“I don’t think we were totally aware of what he was dealing with, which is good,” Callaway said. “Players play through a lot. He played through it the best he could. Now we’ll take care of it.”
Wheeler has also had to cope with the trade rumors, no matter how much he tried to ignore them.
“Honestly, sometimes you think about it, sometimes you don’t,” Wheeler said. “It could be bad timing, but I’m trying to get back out there as soon as I can. Does it affect whether I pitch sooner or pitch later? I’m just trying to pitch. It’s unfortunate it happened now, I guess.”
The Mets did make one minor deal Wednesday, trading the right-hander Wilmer Font to Toronto for cash considerations. Font, mostly a reliever this season, was designated for assignment July 12.
At the very least, the Mets could take a dose of confidence from two straight wins against one of the A.L.’s top teams. This two-game series was only the second Mets visit to Target Field, but they are 5-0 there, having swept a three-game series in 2013. In addition to the bullpen’s strong performance, two of the Mets’ most important hitters emerged from slumps the last two days.