Former GreenJacket Zack Wheeler is back on DL

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Former GreenJackets pitcher Zack Wheeler spent much of his time with the 2010 Augusta squad on the disabled list with a fingernail problem. After two years, the right-handed prospect is still struggling with the nail.

Ex-Augusta GreenJacket Zack Wheeler, now with Double-A Binghamton, is on the DL again with a fingernail problem.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Ex-Augusta GreenJacket Zack Wheeler, now with Double-A Binghamton, is on the DL again with a fingernail problem.

Wheeler, a first-round pick who was later traded by the Giants to the New York Mets for Carlos Beltran, returned to the disabled list Thursday. The Double-A club in Binghamton reported that Wheeler’s fingernail is again giving him trouble.

The sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft made his professional debut in Augusta but almost immediately developed a problem with the nail on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

The Giants approached the injury with extreme caution, keeping him on the disabled list for more than six weeks to allow the nail to fully heal. Wheeler was eventually sent to San Francisco in June of 2010 for an evaluation by the team’s hand specialist Dr. Gordon Brody.

Wheeler returned to Augusta and made several one-inning relief appearances before making it back to the starting rotation. He made five starts over the final month of the season and never went beyond five innings.

After the trade, Wheeler made six starts with the Advanced-A St. Lucie Mets. He started the 2012 season with Double-A Binghamton and tallied a 1-2 record with a 1.75 ERA in five starts.

POSITIVE: A South Atlantic League pitcher and Boston Red Sox prospect was suspended 50 games last week for a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, according to a statement released by Minor League Baseball.

Matthew Price, a 22-year-old right-hander and product of The Walker School in Marietta, Ga., was an eighth-round pick out of Virginia Tech two years ago and last pitched in 2011 for the Greenville Drive.

Though the specific substance that resulted in a positive sample was not identified, the statement from The Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball said Price was suspended after testing positive for “a drug of abuse.” Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD and ecstacy fall under the category.

Price was the 40th player to receive such a suspension this year.

GOOD TIMING: Hephzibah High School product Casio Grider returned from the disabled list last week just in time to see his manager hit a major milestone.

Grider, a Los Angeles Dodgers prospect playing for the Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, was plugged back into the starting lineup Tuesday for the first time in more than two weeks after suffering an early-season setback.

Quakes manager Juan Bustabad notched his 800th career win with a 7-5 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Friday night.

The 50-year-old Cuban was named the manager of the year in the Midwest League two years ago and in the California League last season, but the 800 wins is not a minor league record.

Former Augusta GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer, who now leads the Double-A Richmond Squirrels, reached 1,500 career wins in the final week of last season.

CREATIVE THINKING: A few minor league teams went over to the dark side this weekend with “May the Fourth be with You” promotions for a Star Wars Night.

The Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens of the International League and the Single-A Midwest League’s Kane County Cougars each spotlighted the evening with Star Wars-themed festivities. Kane County held a pregame parade with characters from the movies and capped the night with a postgame fireworks show set to Star Wars music.

The Mud Hens invited fans to the ballpark to meet Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Storm Troopers. The first 2,000 fans were given LED light sticks.


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