Mets sign Harang with eye toward twinbill

ATLANTA -- Terry Collins said the Mets signed veteran Aaron Harang to a minor league deal to preserve pitching depth down the stretch and with an eye toward a Sept. 14 doubleheader against the Miami Marlins, when the Mets will need an extra starter. There also needs to be a hedge in case Zack Wheeler is shut down because he reached an innings cap.

"I think we've got to protect ourselves with Zack and all the other guys," Collins said. "And we're going to need a pitcher for the 14th, for sure."

Collins added that Wheeler should be able to get through the season without getting shut down if he is properly spaced out. Wheeler is at 151 2/3 innings this season between the majors and minors. He logged 149 innings a season ago. Jumps of 30 to 35 innings from the previous year generally are eyed. The problem -- a good problem -- would be if Wheeler pitches so well in games that he logs, say, eight innings a start.

"If he's spaced out and we keep track of him, we should be able to get him to where we'd like him to without a problem," Collins said. "But, you know, he's pitching pretty good."