That six-man rotation the New York Mets wanted to establish will not happen. With the need to protect Jon Niese, who came off the disabled list Sunday, and wanting to limit the innings of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, the six-man rotation seemed an appropriate way to go.
Of course, six won’t work when there are only five pitchers. That’s because struggling Jeremy Hefner was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Niese, and could wind up on the disabled list with an elbow problem.
Niese labored in beating the Diamondbacks Sunday, but came out feeling no pain in his shoulder. We’ll know more when he reports to Dodger Stadium later.
“I felt good,’’ Niese told reporters in Phoenix. “There was no pain. Everything felt good. … Let’s see how it feels [Monday].’’
Niese, held to a 90-pitch limit, gave up four runs in six innings. Not a quality start, but good enough to win. Niese averaged roughly 90 mph., on his fastball, which has been this season’s norm. His next start is scheduled for Aug. 16, at San Diego. The Mets have not placed a pitch count limit for that start, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep him on a strict limit for the remainder of the season.
Despite the return to a five-man rotation, GM Sandy Alderson believes both Harvey and Wheeler should be able to close out the season while reaching their innings limit.
METS ROTATION FOR AUGUST: ESPN’s Adam Rubin, who is on top of all things Mets, put together their projected rotation for the remainder of the month. Here’s what Rubin came up with:
Aug. 12: Jenrry Mejia
Aug. 13: Harvey
Aug. 14: Dillon Gee
Aug. 15: Wheeler
Aug. 16: Niese
Aug. 17: Mejia
Aug. 18: Harvey
Aug. 19: Gee
Aug. 20: Wheeler
Aug. 21: Niese
Aug. 23: Mejia
Aug. 24: Harvey
Aug. 25: Gee
Aug. 26: Wheeler
Aug. 27: Niese
Aug. 28: Mejia
Aug. 29: Harvey
Aug. 30: Gee
Aug. 31: Wheeler
Of course, there’s no accounting for injuries or rainouts, so the rotation could change. It doesn’t appear Rafael Montero will be brought up in September because he would be close to reaching his innings limit. However, during the crush of games for the rest of the month, it might be prudent for the Mets to bring him up for a spot start.
Where they slot him could allow for more rest for Harvey and Wheeler. Plus, it gives the Mets a look at one of their top prospects under major league conditions.
It would be a win-win situation.
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