Whatever the outcome of Jonathon Niese’s shoulder exam this morning in New York, the New York Mets must place him on the disabled list. Not should, but must.
That reliever Greg Burke is on his way to Philadelphia this morning indicates they are thinking in those terms. Replacing him in the rotation isn’t an issue with the arrival of Zack Wheeler, so there’s no need to make a decision on Shaun Marcum for at least another two weeks.
Nice and neat, isn’t it?
While the Mets’ roster maneuvering will take care of itself, they would prefer the juggling if it meant having a healthy Niese. If this were an isolated incident it might raise a red flag. That this is Niese’s third problem this season is alarming.
Niese left Thursday night’s game during the fourth inning in Atlanta with pain in his left shoulder. Unlike Matt Harvey, who tried to pitch through back discomfort several weeks ago – he gets a pass because he’s in his first full season – Niese realized something was wrong after a few pitches and called to the dugout.
There was no hesitation with Terry Collins in pulling him. There wasn’t even that “let’s throw a few warm-up tosses and see what’s going on’’ nonsense that has burned the Mets before.
Niese was gone.
“It’s never good when you have to leave a game. But on a good note, the doctor did some tests and everything was negative,’’ Niese said of a training room exam Thursday night. “It just felt really weak. I think the tendinitis kind of flared up again. I felt some pain that [Tyler] Pastornicky at-bat.
“I threw a fastball and noticed my velocity was down. There was a lot of discomfort. I tried to pitch through it, but every pitch after that I felt some pain, so I just had to stop.’’
Of course, Niese should not have tried to throw those few extra pitches, but a player will always attempt to work through it because differentiating between normal game pain and injury is difficult. However, Niese had already missed a start because of his shoulder.
Niese said he felt good after missing that one start and gave the obligatory “we’ll see what the doctor says.’’
Not this time. This has gone on long enough.
Niese is young, he’s left-handed, he throws hard – at least he did before this – and under a manageable contract through the 2016 season. Not only that, Niese is good. He’s a foundation piece; part of the Mets’ core.
He must be protected.
ON DECK: Updating Ike Davis.
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