After throwing 4.2 one-hit innings in the Mets’ win against the Tigers, Adam Rubin reported that Jonathon Niese is currently in line to start Opening Day against the San Diego Padres on April 1st in place of Johan Santana, should he start the year on the disabled list. Despite allowing four walks to Detroit hitters in his outing, Niese said he’s currently “working on” his curveball, so he’s not too worried about that particular game stat.
Niese would be the 22nd different Met pitcher to pitch on Opening Day, and it’s certainly an honor, especially for a young southpaw with his potential. Why would Terry Collins choose him over any of the other New York starters if Santana can’t take the mound on April Fool’s Day? He progressed a lot last season by putting togrether his most complete body of work, and as the second-longest tenured starter behind Johan, this is the best way for the organizaton to show they have all the confidence in him becoming an anchor in this rotation for years to come. It’s something that not many will remember by the time the season ends, but it’s certainly a recognition and an honor that Niese will never forget. Hopefully, this will just be the first of a number of Opening Day starts for the southpaw in the Orange and Blue.
Danny Abriano kept us up to date with the latest Mets news and notes out of PSL yesterday; while Jordany Valdespin was recovering from getting hit in the groin with a Justin Verlander fastball (I can’t think of anything worse, by the way), we heard about Jenrry Mejia lighting up the radar gun, while also rediscovering his cutter. Kirk Nieuwenhuis continues to rehab from his bruised knee, as he’s expected to participate in baseball activities tomorrow. He probably wants to get back on the field pretty bad at this point, as his 1-for-18 isn’t looking that good against the rest of the outfield competition.
The Mets enjoyed roughing up Verlander and the Tigers yesterday in Lakeland, making the two-hour bus trip worth it, coming home with an 11-0 victory. Brian Bixler and John Buck both had multi-hit games, while Matt den Dekker chipped in with a run-scoring single, and Anthony Recker continues to impress in camp, now hitting .538 in Grapefruit League play. You can see the Rising Apple recap right here.
There was plenty of great content to read on Rising Apple yesterday; the day began with the start of our 2013 MLB season preview series, with Michael Lecolant providing a preview of the AL East. Make sure you give it a read, his pick to win the division probably isn’t the same as your pick. Will DeBoer put the spotlight on John Olerud in his latest installment of Glory Days, while I talked about how Zack Wheeler is taking a similar road to the Major Leagues this year as Matt Harvey did in 2012. Danny touched upon some of the most talked about current topics regarding the Mets in a point/counterpoint format.