The Mets faced the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon, in a split squad game in Jupiter, Florida.
As February ended, Jon Niese was flown back to New York for a precautionary MRI after feeling discomfort in his pitching shoulder. Two weeks later, he made his first start of spring, but did not fare too well. In 2 innings pitched, he threw 50 pitches, allowed 6 hits and 4 earned runs, walked a pair, and struck out none. His fastball started at 80 mph, and was clocked at 88-89 mph by the time he was through. Afterwards, all that was said about his arm, was that it felt better.
Today was Jonathan Niese’s eagerly anticipated second Grapefruit League start. He threw three first pitch strikes to the first three batters he faced, and needed just 5 pitches to secure 2 outs, and 9 pitches total to retire the side.
After that, Jon Niese officially became a matter of concern. In the 2nd inning, he started featuring his curveball with little success. Sitting in for Howie Rose on the radio cast this afternoon, John Franco joined Josh Lewin, and had strong words regarding Niese’s performance throughout the 2nd inning.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, Jon Niese did not come out of the dugout for the 3rd inning. After just 35 pitches, his day was mysteriously done. The Mets soon announced Niese experienced discomfort in his elbow, and is headed towards his 2nd MRI within a month.
As reported by the radio booth, Niese said this issue started 10 days ago, during an intra-squad game, in which he developed hyper-extension in the back of the elbow, and has been rehabbing it since. Niese said he was “almost 100% sure” Tommy John surgery will not be needed, and that he’ll be able to pitch through this.
Discomfort to the back of the elbow is considered less serious, than other areas of the elbow requiring Tommy John surgery.
METS STARTING LINE-UP:
SCORING RECAP: METS 10, CARDINALS 4
- top 1st inning – With runners on first and third, and Josh Satin at the plate, Adam Wainwright balked, allowing Daniel Murphy, who reached on a single, to score. Chris Young was later thrown out at home for the third out, while trying to advance an extra base on Matt Young‘s infield single.
- top 2nd inning – With one runner on, and two outs, Cory Vaughn connected off Adam Wainwright on a first-pitch home run to left field, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
- bot 2nd inning – Jon Niese surrendered 3 hits and 2 earned runs, to make it a 3-2 game.
- top 6th inning – Anthony Recker‘s bases loaded single gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. Cory Vaughn’s bases loaded hit gave the Mets a 6-3 lead.
- bot 8th inning – Three hits and an earned run off reliever Vic Black made it a 6-4 game. Matt den Dekker combined with Anthony Recker, on a catch and throw home, to complete a double play, get Vic Black out of further trouble, and preserve the Mets lead.
- top 9th inning – Matt Clark‘s third hit of the game gave the Mets a 7-4 lead. A come-backer by Matt den Dekker‘s resulted in an infield hit, allowing the Mets 8th run to score. With the bases loaded, Matt Reynolds 2 run base hit gave the Mets a 10-4 lead.
- Ruben Tejada looked at strike three to start the game, and committed an error in the 3rd inning on a routine ground ball. He followed that with a diving stop behind second base to start a 6-4-3 double play, and made yet another diving play later. He rebounded for a fine day in the field, but went 0 for 3 at the plate.
- Daniel Murphy was 2 for 2 off Adam Wainwright, and 3 for 3 for the game.
- Trying to make the team, reliever Kyle Farnsworth took over for Buddy Carlyle in the 5th inning. Johnny Peralta was the first batter he faced, and with a runner on third, and two outs, Farnsworth surrendered a single which tied the game. All his pitches in the inning were clocked in the 80’s. He finally threw a 90+mph fastball in the 6th, and with the tying runs on base, pitched himself out of big trouble.
- Anthony Recker, 2 for 4, double, RBI. He threw out one runner attempting to steal.
- Cory Vaughn, 2 for 3, home run, single, 4 RBI, hit by pitch.
- Reliever Greg Peavey was the Mets fourth pitcher of the day.
- Matt den Dekker, 1 for 5, infield single.
- Vic Black was the Mets fifth pitcher of the day.
- Matt Clark, 3 for 4, RBI.
- Mets had 19 hits for the game.
- Randy Fontanez, the 6th Mets pitcher, tossed a scoreless 9th inning.
“PARAPHRASING STUFF JOHN FRANCO SAID”
- 2nd inning – Jon Niese was throwing a good cutter, but his curveball looked lazy. Niese looks more comfortable attacking lefties, than righties. Jon Niese’s curveball did not look sharp.
- On Niese’s failure to come out for the 3rd inning – Something about that last inning didn’t agree with Jon. The Mets wanted him to throw about 3 or 4 innings, and get his pitch count up. Now, I hope this isn’t something too serious. He had his shoulder checked out twice in the last year. He’s not 100% for sure. This is a setback for Niese and the starting rotation.
- 3rd inning – On Buddy Carlyle‘s relieving Jon Niese – Probably the furthest thing from his mind, was to be pitching in the 3rd inning. On Carlyle’s performance – He’s showing a good cut slider here and there; so far so good.
- 5th inning – on Jon Niese’s situation – Now, it’s an elbow, and that concerns me! He might have been compensating for a shoulder, which affected his elbow.
- Elaborating on injuries – In college and the minors, we rarely had pitch counts. Now, teams baby guys because there is so much money invested in them. Pitch counts are not proven. I believe the more you throw, the better and stronger you’ll get.
- On his own Tommy John surgery – My doctor told me arms weren’t meant to throw a ball overhand. They were meant to throw underhand.
- 6th inning – On Matt den Dekker – Up with the bases loaded against a lefty, this is where he has to show he can handle the bat. (Dekker then struck out looking.)
- On Boomer Esiason’s restaurant, and about not buying a house in Cincinnati – That’s the kiss of death! Buy a house, open a restaurant, and get traded.
- On Kyle Farnsworth in the 6th – He needs to start challenging hitters. Kyle should know better. The team just gave you a lead, and he’s out there walking batters. Pitching behind; first pitch strikes; he hasn’t done that – you want good quality first pitch strikes. You have a three run lead, challenge them. It’s pretty simple! Stop trying to trick hitters. That’s when you get hurt.
- On Vic Black in the 8th inning, and his 2nd straight poor performance – Vic Black is second guessing himself, trying to do too much – maybe rushing. Good time for Ricky Bones (bullpen coach) to pay him a visit. He might be trying to choke the ball – throw it too hard. He’s having a tough day and a half. He’s aiming.
- On his travelling by bus in the minors – Even a customized bus – a bus is a bus. It’s tough.
- On his day in the booth – You (Lewin) and Howie do such a great job. Will Howie be wearing his green shirt tomorrow? I’ll try and visit at Citi Field, and I won’t bring protein bars.
Today, the Mets second squad takes on the Cubs in Las Vegas, 4:05 EST.
Monday afternoon – Mets @ Marlins, 1:05 EST.