Zack Wheeler Changes Delivery, Then Teams In July





NEW YORK—Zack Wheeler woke up on a Wednesday morning and, like most days, reached out to his high Class A San Jose teammate and friend Gary Brown. But the texting on this morning was more serious than usual, coming just days before the trade deadline.

The two Giants prospects were prime acquisition targets, and they knew it. Wheeler heard rumors that Brown had been moved.

"I thought he did get traded," Wheeler said. "So I texted him and he said, 'No, not yet.' Then I went downstairs, started watching ESPN, and like 15 minutes later they were like, 'Zack Wheeler is about to get traded.' I was like, 'Oh man, that's a shock.' "

The shock is over now and reality has set in for the touted 21-year-old righthander, whom the Giants selected sixth overall in the 2009 draft. Prior to the trade, Wheeler went 7-5, 3.99 with 70 strikeouts and 38 walks in 88 innings for San Jose before the Giants sent him to the Mets for Carlos Beltran.

"We were looking for big upside," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We could have gotten a package of three players from a number of clubs, but the overall potential of those players would not have equaled Zack's potential. So in that way we sacrificed a little bit of diversification for top-end potential.

"In large part you don't get access to these players very often. So we're very pleased, and I think it was really the top-end potential and what he's demonstrated from his high school career to this point that attracted us."

Wheeler, who joined high Class A St. Lucie, tweaked his delivery in July, returning to the delivery he used in high school. That included a return to a higher leg kick and "bringing my hands next to my head," he said.

"When I first got drafted (and) went to (instructional league), they tried to settle my motion down a little bit, make it a little easier," Wheeler said. "I think I just had to think a little too much. I was going too slow, didn't have any rhythm really. When I broke my hands I had to think about getting the ball up and stuff a little too much.

"It's all one fluid motion (now). It works out good. I just feel comfortable again."

METAMORPHOSES

• Outfielder Fernando Martinez returned to Triple-A Buffalo after a two-week stay on the disabled list with a hip problem. He batted .254/.325/.413 through 213 at-bats.

• Double-A Binghamton shortstop Jordanny Valdespin's average dipped to .301 during a 10-game hitting streak. He managed just one hit in seven of those 10 games.