6/28/2013 6:44 P.M. ET
Mets endure tough ending to 'brutal' road trip
By Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- As if the Mets needed any more travel issues, their 11-day, four-city, roughly 5,000-mile road trip ended like this: sitting on a bus on an airport tarmac, waiting for a plane to take them home.
An engine problem with the Mets' original plane forced them to wait more than two hours for a replacement to reach Denver, where they finally took off around 10:30 p.m. MT. A three-hour flight and two-hour time change meant the Mets arrived in Queens after 4 a.m. ET, preventing most players from reaching their homes until well after 5 a.m.
Understanding that hectic travel schedule, manager Terry Collins scrapped batting practice Friday and shifted the club's mandatory reporting time back to 5:30 p.m. ET, several hours later than normal. Quipped Collins: "I've got to make sure 25 guys get a little coffee."
"Our guys, some of them are beat up and some of them are just stinkin' tired," Collins said. "It's a lot to ask of anybody."
Even starting pitchers Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee, who flew directly from Chicago to New York on Wednesday evening, endured flight delays before finally landing. Thursday's starter, Jeremy Hefner, attempted to travel early to Denver, but flight delays forced him to take the team charter instead.
It all made for yet another crazy week for the Mets, whose trip to Denver was made necessary by multiple winter weather delays in April. But they finished 7-4 on the 11-game trip, ensuring that their extra-large coffees did not go to waste.
"That was a brutal trip," first baseman Josh Satin said. "We won, so it was worth it, but that was brutal."
Wheeler: Fixing pitch tipping not too difficult
NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler's work began Thursday in Denver, when he and pitching coach Dan Warthen attempted to fix the pitch-tipping issue that plagued him during Tuesday's start. It continued Friday at Citi Field, where he and Warthen again worked to correct the flaw.
They believe that when Wheeler takes the mound Sunday for his third career start and first home outing, no Nationals hitters will know what is coming.
"I don't think it's anything too difficult," Wheeler said. "Just a little small tweak here and there, and we'll be good to go."
Specifically, Warthen worked on correcting Wheeler's arm slot, which tended to vary from fastballs to breaking pitches. The flaw may not have been visible to many observers, but it was enough for trained hitters to recognize and take advantage, as the White Sox did last Tuesday.
Wheeler hopes his work will make for a happy homecoming Sunday, in front of what is sure to be one of the larger crowds Citi Field has seen this season. Among those in attendance will be Wheeler's parents and brothers, who also watched his debut in Atlanta.
Between now and then, Wheeler will continue trying to adjust both off the field -- he is living out of a suitcase at a local hotel -- and on.
"I'm just working on a few things and keeping it simple, nothing too much," Wheeler said. "It worked out well."
Nimmo excited about possibility of Futures Game
NEW YORK -- As he climbs through the Mets' Minor League system, Brandon Nimmo is working to prove he can be part of the organization for years to come. For one day in July, one of the team's top prospects might have the chance to give Mets fans a glimpse of his highly touted skills.
Nimmo, the Mets' No. 4 prospect, is one of five finalists for a spot on the U.S. team at the 2013 Sirius XM All-Star Futures game, which will be held at Citi Field on July 14. The game is a showcase of some of the best players in the Minor Leagues, and Nimmo's hoping to be among them.
For the first time, fans will determine the final player on the U.S. and World Team rosters by casting their votes in the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot. There are five candidates for each team, and voting ends on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET.
In addition to voting for Nimmo on the web at MLB.com/futuresfinalists, fans can vote for him using their mobile phones to cast votes via text message. To receive the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. Vote for Nimmo via text by sending his code (U5) to 89269. All votes are final. Standard rate text messaging fees apply (check with mobile carriers for details).
Nimmo would be the third Mets prospect to play in the game, as Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard will participate.
Playing for Class A Savannah, Nimmo is hitting .274 with one home run, 21 RBIs and a .378 on-base percentage. A trip to the disabled list with a left hand contusion interrupted his season, but Nimmo still earned a spot on the Southern Division All-Stars roster at the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 18.
The Mets drafted Nimmo, 20, with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
On a conference call with reporters on Friday, Nimmo said he's looking forward to the possibility of playing in the Futures Game, an experience he said he would benefit from greatly.
"I'm just trying to soak it all in," Nimmo said. "It would be pretty amazing to be in that group of players, best players in Minor League baseball. I'm just enjoying the experience right now, and I'm just blessed to be a part of it."
He also said it would be a great learning experience, since he could pick the brains of the other players, learning about how they go about their games and also about the different leagues they play in.
Nimmo said he thinks his development is right on track, but he still wants to develop greater consistency with his game -- both at the plate and on the field. More experience and more reps, he said, will go a long way toward doing that.
"I think I need to improve on everything," Nimmo said, "and it'll stay that way until, and even after, I make it to the Major Leagues."
Despite the Futures Game being played at Citi Field, Nimmo said he wouldn't place any more pressure on himself. It's one game, not nearly enough time to draw any major conclusions from the way he plays.
Still, he could be around Mets fans and they could have the chance to see him. He might be a regular here within the next few years.
"I am just so thankful that the fans are supporting this so much, and it just goes to show, I think, that they're the best fan base in baseball," Nimmo said. "I just would soak it in, enjoy the experience, try and treat it as a lifetime experience, something to learn from."
Harvey to step into Chatting Cage on Tuesday
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey's been dominating opponents all season long, becoming one of the best pitchers in the National League. Now fans will have the opportunity to submit questions to the Mets' pitching stud.
Harvey will appear on MLB.com's Chatting Cage, presented by Edward Jones, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Some fans will be chosen to ask Harvey a question via live webcam. Fans can also submit questions on Twitter using #chatting cage.
Entering Friday's game, Harvey led the NL in strikeouts with 121, and in ERA at 2.05. With a fastball that can reach 100 mph, Harvey's given fans plenty to be excited about.
On Tuesday, fans will have a chance to find out more about the Mets' phenom.
• Ruben Tejada played five innings at shortstop Friday for the Gulf Coast League Mets, finishing 1-for-2 in his rehab debut. Tejada, who has been sidelined since May 30 with a strained right quad, is scheduled to play seven innings in the field Saturday. Collins has said that Tejada must earn his starting job back one he returns from the disabled list.
• Knicks first-round draft pick Tim Hardaway Jr. met with Mets players and took swings in an indoor batting cage Friday, one day after the Knicks selected him 24th overall. Hardaway, who attended the University of Michigan, shares his alma mater with Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.