Wheeler: “I don’t think I’m the savior at all”
Zack Wheeler just held a 14-minute introductory press conference, a day before he is slated to make his big league debut at Turner Field. Here’s a sampling of what was said:
What kind of turnout are you expecting tomorrow?
“From what I hear and see, it’s going to be a huge turnout. I grew up in Smyrna and that’s about 30 minutes away from here. I moved out to where I live now [Dallas, Ga.] my eighth grade year. I’ve got both sides coming, so it’s going to be a lottttt of people.”
How do you feel about people expecting you to be the savior here?
“I don’t think I’m the savior at all. We’ve got great arms here and we’ve got great players. We might not be doing too well right now, but I know the talent of these guys and hopefully we can turn it around soon. I’m just trying to come up here and help the team any way I can.”
Can you enjoy this considering how much the Mets are struggling?
“Obviously you’re getting pulled up to the big leagues so it’s going to be a good time in your career, a good time in your life. You can enjoy it. I’m up here trying to help the team any way possible, good or bad.”
What did you learn at Triple-A Las Vegas?
“It was definitely an experience just seeing balls fly and the ground’s really hard, so some balls get through the infield. I think it makes you battle a little bit more, puts a little bit more pressure on you. That’s what I took away from that league is it puts you in situations that you might not be in sometimes, like those ground balls getting through one after another, then you’ve got to stay out there and just battle. You get out of it sometimes, and sometimes you don’t, so it might boost your confidence a little bit. That’s what I take away from that league.”
How do you feel about following in Matt Harvey’s footsteps?
“That’s the thing. He set the bar so high because he just took off once he came up here. Some people expected it. Some people didn’t. I’m just going to go out there and do the best that I can. People can take it how they want it. Hopefully I’ll do well and just be up there with him.”
Why did you choose uniform No. 45?
“Just growing up, I think I’ve always had 12 or 21 or something like that. And then Adam [Wheeler], the one who played baseball, my brother, he always had 45 for some reason. I don’t even know why he had it, but I just grew up liking it. I took it over when I was about 12 or 13.
Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.