Since injuries to starting pitchers are more important than temper tantrums by struggling first basemen, undoubtedly the most important news item of the week was the MRI on left-hander Jon Niese.
The MRI showed no structural damage, but revealed weakness in the back area of the shoulder, which Niese took responsibility for, saying he didn’t work that enough.
That disclosure raised numerous questions about the Mets’ handling of the injury.
Niese’s first exhibition start, Tuesday against Houston, will be pushed back. He is to resume throwing and will be given a set of exercises designed to strengthen the back area of his shoulder.
Manager Terry Collins named Niese his Opening Day starter, and so far that hasn’t changed.
Also this week:
* Ike Davis verbally sparred with New York Post reporter Mike Puma, saying he didn’t “approve’’ of his story the first baseman concealed an oblique injury last year. Davis said he didn’t want to disclose the injury because it was about the time he was to be sent to Triple-A Las Vegas and didn’t want it to come off as making excuses.
Davis did not refute the accuracy of the story and produced a line-drive quote: “I sucked last year because I sucked.’’
However, Puma did him one better, and when asked what would happen if Davis took a swing at him, said: “He might miss.’’
* In the wake of the Davis story, Collins said he wants players to reveal injuries and indicated last year could have been different for Davis had he done so. Later, Niese said he didn’t want to tell anybody about his shoulder ailment.
* In a meeting with his staff, general manager Sandy Alderson said he thought 90 victories were possible, which would be a 20 percent improvement. Talk about setting the bar high.
* Prospect Noah Syndergaard struck out five in two innings in Thursday’s intrasquad game. Syndergaard threw a nasty curve and fastball that topped out a 97 mph. His first exhibition start is scheduled for Monday against Atlanta.