Updates from Saturday, April 5
The Mets announced the have activated Jon Niese from the DL:
Updates from Thursday, March 20
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports when Jon Niese is expected to make his 2014 regular-season debut:
Niese should get two more tune-ups for the season in minor-league games: March 27 and April 1.
He is due to do work with a weighted ball on Thursday at the team's Port St. Lucie complex. Niese is due to resume throwing off a mound Monday.
Updates from Tuesday, March 18
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com provides a statement from Jon Niese discussing his injury status:
“I feel like that piece of paper that you stick up on a dart board, and the guy is throwing the knife at it,” Niese joked Tuesday upon returning to camp. “Luckily for me, the guy throwing the knife isn’t a very good shot.”
“They said the UCL is strong and big and strong -- no bone arthritis or spurs or anything,” Niese said. “So all the bones and ligaments are perfect. There’s just a little inflammation in that joint in the back of my elbow. So I got a cortisone shot. It’s a little sore today from the shot, but the soreness is going down. So I should be able to throw tomorrow.”
Updates from Monday, March 17
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports when Jon Niese is expected to resume throwing:
Left-hander Jonathon Niese has been cleared to resume throwing after undergoing a favorable medical examination in New York, multiple sources with ties to the team told ESPNNewYork.com.
Niese underwent an MRI and was examined by team doctor David Altchek on Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, a day after departing a Grapefruit League game against the St. Louis Cardinals after two innings with elbow discomfort.
Niese received a cortisone injection in the back of his left elbow to address inflammation, but was informed his ligament is fully intact. He is expected to resume throwing Wednesday.
Rubin previously provided the expectation surrounding Jon Niese's status for the start of the 2014 regular season:
The Mets have not yet learned the severity of Jonathon Niese's elbow injury. And they have not yet shared their plan with Niese, so the information is sensitive. But even if Niese's elbow issue ends up being minimal, the southpaw is expected to open the season on the disabled list, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com.
New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese exited Sunday's spring training start against the St. Louis Cardinals with a hyperextended left elbow.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reported on the unfortunate development for the disappointed Mets southpaw, and noted that the injury first flared up in an intrasquad game 10 days ago:
Jon Niese says he hyperextended elbow. Had been rehabbing it. Says back of elbow, not Tommy John ligament area.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) March 16, 2014
"It's a spring training from hell." -- Jon Niese— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) March 16, 2014
Jon Niese said this first flared up during intrasquad game 10 days ago. Had been taking anti-inflammatory medication since.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) March 16, 2014
The good news is that the ailment doesn't appear to impact the area of the arm that would require Tommy John surgery. At least it's happening early enough in the year to the point where Niese shouldn't miss significant time in the regular season and can continue rehabbing at a steady pace.
But as Anthony Rieber of Newsday pointed out, Niese has also had nagging shoulder trouble this spring, which helps to explain Niese's frustrated quote:
To recap: Jon Niese, in his second start, leaves abruptly after two innings and 35 pitches. Niese has had shoulder trouble this spring.— Anthony Rieber (@therealarieber) March 16, 2014
Rubin reports that Niese will undergo an MRI in New York, citing assistant general manager John Ricco as the source of the information:
John Ricco said Niese headed for MRI, likely in NY— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) March 16, 2014
Niese was on the disabled list in 2013 for an extended period of time with a partially torn rotator cuff, yet he still managed to post a respectable 8-8 record with a 3.71 ERA and was more effective when he returned healthy.
Enduring that and finishing with a 3.00 ERA after the All-Star break had Niese, 27, entering this coming season on a high note. Now he is battling multiple injuries in spring training, and while they don't seem as severe as they could be, it's still a discouraging sign for the Mets.
The rotation is already thin with star Matt Harvey coming off Tommy John surgery of his own and trying to will himself to pitch this season. It's a bold proposition and one he shouldn't push too hard, since he threw in late February for the first time just four months after his operation.
There's a lot of work for New York to do to become a relevant factor in the National League in 2014, and having two young, promising starting pitchers with precarious futures doesn't help the cause. Niese must not push too hard in his bid to return to the mound and weigh his options carefully once the MRI results come in.