Mets' right-hander Zack Wheeler has suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season, according to a team announcement. Wheeler is the second Mets' pitcher to be diagnosed with a torn UCL this spring, joining left-hander Josh Edgin, who will be undergoing Tommy John surgery this week.
The loss of Wheeler is a crushing blow for a Mets team that had a chance to contend for a playoff spot this season. The team will rely on trade candidate Dillon Gee to slot into a rotation spot behind Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Jonathan Niese and Bartolo Colon, with Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero serving as depth options as they continue their ascent as prospects.
Wheeler, 24, has been a consistent contributor for the Mets, posting a 18-16 record and 3.50 ERA in 49 starts over his first two major-league seasons. He will be under team control through the 2019 season, forming part of a young core of starters for the Mets that also includes Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard.
Wheeler is the latest major-leaguer to tear his UCL this spring, joining Edgin, Yu Darvish, Brandon Cumpton, Shae Simmons and Tim Collins.