PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- Top Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler has been scratched from his start against the St. Louis Cardinals because of a mild oblique strain.
General manager Sandy Alderson says Wednesday the hard-throwing right-hander was injured swinging a bat in the cage.
The 22-year-old Wheeler says the side muscle was stiff, and he doesn't believe it's anything serious.
This would have been Wheeler's second spring outing. He tossed two scoreless innings in relief Saturday, reaching the mid-90s on the speed gun with his pitches.
Wheeler was excited to face outfielder Carlos Beltran for the first time. Wheeler was the key acquisition for the Mets in the deal that sent Beltran, the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year, to the San Francisco Giants in 2011.
Left-hander Darin Gorski started in Wheeler's place.