Wheeler made his first start against the Atlanta Braves, tossing six scoreless innings on July 18. The starter battled some control issues, walking five Braves, but his stuff looked imposing, helping him fan seven batters.
The Mets sent Wheeler back down to Triple-A following the start, since the starter counted as the 26th man on the roster for the scheduled double-header. New York does not have to wait the normal 10 days before recalling Weaver from the minors because of this loophole.
New York hopes that Wheeler can stay with the big-league club for the rest of the season. The 23-year-old will face a tough matchup in his second start, as he will pitch against Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale. Wheeler sounded relaxed about the situation, telling Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger:
"It's just like any other start. It's not a big deal. I sort of got a heads up a while back so I wasn't really dramatic."
The Mets will need to remove a player from the 25-man roster before recalling Wheeler, but have yet to make an official decision. Rubin speculates that Greg Burke will be demoted to Triple-A, but he is currently traveling with the team.