New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler underwent a series of injections for six months in his rehab effort to get back the starting pitching form for the 2018 season following a stress reaction last year.
Wheeler pushed himself to return to the Mets fully healthy and told the New York Post that he was using the prescription medicine Forteo to strengthen the bone. He completed the injections a week ago and is coming to spring training camp with something to prove.
"You do a shot in your stomach every day for six months. It's not fun, but you got to do it," Wheeler told the newspaper. "They give it to people with brittle bones, osteoporosis. My arm feels great. I've been on the mound six times now, so if this helps me get to 30 starts, I'm all for it."
The 27-year-old Wheeler missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015.
Wheeler returned to the Mets last year but went just 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts before his season was cut short in July by a stress reaction in his right arm. He recently won his arbitration case against the club and will make $1.9 million in 2018, getting a raise from $800,000. The Mets were offering $1.5 million.
Wheeler, who is 21-23 overall with a 3.90 ERA in 66 career starts dating back to 2013, told the paper he began the injections after two months of rest.
"I'm just kind of tired of getting labeled as unreliable, as, 'He's always hurt,'" Wheeler said. "I missed two seasons, but that was because of one injury (requiring Tommy John surgery). I can't help that. I worked my butt off in rehab, was doing great and then this bone issue.
"I have a little chip on my shoulder and I want to battle and be in the World Series. ... I missed those years we were in the playoffs so I want to get back, get out there and pitch with these guys."
--Field Level Media