CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies ace Zack Wheeler on Sunday took another step toward pitching in the first week of the season.
He threw 35 pitches in a morning bullpen session at BayCare Ballpark. It was noteworthy because Wheeler entered camp behind schedule, following a heavy workload in 2021 and dealing with right shoulder soreness in December. Wheeler threw his first bullpen session last Monday, then missed a few days because of the flu. It seemed to put his chances to be ready for the season in jeopardy.
“I was a little bit behind, but we’re on a good path now,” Wheeler said afterward. “Hopefully, it continues.”
Wheeler said he threw off a mound a few times while he was away from the team last week. So, in that sense, he said he did not miss much at all.
“I wasn’t feeling bad at all,” he said. “I was able to get out there and do everything I do here, just at a different place. I didn’t get off track by the flu at all. I just had the flu.”
Wheeler is scheduled to throw another bullpen session. Assuming it goes well -- Wheeler and the Phillies say there are no concerns about the shoulder soreness he felt in December -- he will throw a batting practice session before possibly appearing in a Grapefruit League game.
He believes it would keep him on course to pitch in the season’s first week.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “If everything goes like it is right now, we should be good to go.”