March 15, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) The New York Mets remain confident Zack Wheeler will be part of their pitching rotation when the season begins.

Manager Terry Collins said after Sunday's 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay that he had not yet been advised of the results of an MRI on Wheeler's tender right elbow. He viewed that as good news.

''If there was something serious, I'm sure the trainers would have ran me down in the dugout,'' Collins said. ''I haven't heard anything.''

Wheeler missed his scheduled start against Washington on Saturday, even though Collins said the 24-year-old told him he could have pitched had it been a regular-season game.

''Everybody gets MRIs today. ... It's just what you do to protect yourself,'' Collins said, explaining why he wasn't alarmed when he learned Wheeler was going to undergo a MRI.

''He had two MRIs this winter, both clean. He's had this elbow issue. Last summer there were two or three times during the year where it flared up and he skipped his bullpen between starts, but never missed a start. ... I'm not that concerned about it,'' Collins said.

Before the game, the Mets announced that reliever Josh Edgin will have season-ending left elbow surgery this week.

Meanwhile, starter Bartolo Colon had a rough outing against the Rays.

Evan Longoria drove in two runs with a single and sacrifice fly, and right-hander Matt Andriese continued his bid for a spot in Tampa Bay's rotation by working three scoreless innings in his third spring start.

The Rays scored five runs off Colon in the first two innings, and Allan Dykstra and Juan Francisco homered within a three-pitch span off Matt Bowman in the seventh.

Longoria had a sacrifice fly off Colon in the first and an RBI single against Hansel Robles in the fourth. Colon allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out three in two innings.

Andriese yielded four hits, walked one and struck out three. Right-hander Burch Smith, another candidate for the rotation, followed Andriese and allowed two runs and three hits in three innings.

''Both competed well,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''It was hot out there today. Both were pretty well gassed toward the last three hitters of their outings.''

STARTING TIME

Mets: Colon, a 15-game winner last season, threw 40 of his 61 pitches for strikes.

Rays: In addition to Andriese and Smith, right-handers Nathan Karns and Alex Colome are in the running for openings in the rotation.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: Collins said unless Wheeler's MRI dictates otherwise, the pitcher's next scheduled start will only be pushed back a few days.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly, sidelined by left shoulder tendinitis, said he felt fine after making 30 throws from 60 to 70 feet. ... LHP Jake McGee, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Tuesday.

BALFOUR RETURNS

Rays reliever Grant Balfour is back in camp after spending 18 days at home in Australia tending to his father, who died last week following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. To honor David Balfour, long-time general manager of the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League, the Rays wore light blue socks against the Mets. The Sydney club also wears blue socks. Two weeks ago, Grant Balfour was inducted in the Australia Hall of Fame. That usually happens following retirement, but the honor was moved up so that his father could see it. Balfour is expected to throw to hitters on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Mets: Remain on Florida's west coast, with right-hander Matt Harvey facing right-hander Joe Kelly in Fort Myers.

Rays: First of two scheduled off days in spring training, although right-hander Jake Odorizzi will pitch in a minor league intrasquad game.

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