By Sam Bush

Zack Wheeler underwent a successful right middle fingernail resection procedure on Oct. 12 to address the freak injury that forced him to miss a start in September, the Phillies announced yesterday.

Why did it take them so long to own up to this?

Too busy looking for a new general manager and scrounging for money to sign JT Realmuto?

Wheeler is projected to be ready for the start of Spring Training. Dr. Gary Lourie performed the procedure in Atlanta.

Wheeler nearly lost the nail on the middle finger of his pitching hand on Sept. 9 when he lost his balance putting on pants, catching his nail on his belt buckle and partially disconnecting it from the nail bed.

The right-hander returned to pitch on Sept. 16 and made his final three starts of the season after missing one turn through the rotation. But he was still dealing with issues with the fingernail, which has bothered him since high school due to how he grips his pitches.

Wheeler went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 11 starts in his first season with the Phillies. The 30-year-old signed a five-year, $118 million free-agent contract with Philadelphia last December.

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