By John Delcos
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a normal New York Mets spring training without an injury – specifically to a pitcher.
Jonathon Niese is the latest and was sent to New York today for a MRI after complaining of pain in his left shoulder.
``I wanted to keep it quiet,’’ Niese told reporters in Port St. Lucie, just two days after manager Terry Collins said he wants his players to disclose injuries. ``It's just a precautionary thing to make sure it's not worse from last year. I just want peace of mind.’’
Specifically, Niese said his arm felt ``dead,’’ which is a common occurrence during spring training and often stems from throwing too much too early.
Niese was in Port St. Lucie earlier than required to be, and there’s no telling how much he threw then, or during the off-season.
Niese, after laboring through two starts in freezing weather in Minnesota and Colorado last season – both games should have been rescheduled – later complained of stiffness in his back and trouble getting loose.
Eventually, Niese was placed on the disabled list, June 21, with a partial tear in his rotator cuff, and did not come back until Aug. 11.
Collins, speaking to reporters in Port St. Lucie, said the pain is in the triceps, which is a different part of the arm. The pain surfaced while Niese was throwing his second round of 20 pitches of batting practice.
``Batting practice started and he felt fine,’’ Collins said. ``And then he threw his second 20 pitches the other day. He just said at the end of it, 'Geez, my arm's just dead. Like, it's dead.' ... It's a precaution right now, but any time you're sending someone for an MRI, obviously there's going to be a concern until you get the reading back.
``He just said he's got a little discomfort in there. So we're going to go have it looked at.’’
Niese, 27, in the midst of a five-year, $25.5 million contract, has been scheduled to be the Opening Day starter, March 31, against Washington, at Citi Field.
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***John Delcos has covered Major League Baseball for over 20 years, including the Mets and Yankees since 1998. He is a Hall of Fame voter and owns and operates a Mets website, New York Mets Report.com