After flying to New York to have a precautionary MRI on his left shoulder, Jonathon Niese returned to Port St. Lucie Thursday with a clean bill of health. Niese will likely resume throwing within the next few days, and expects to be ready for opening day.
Feb 17, 2014; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese during todays first official day of spring training at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Niese told reporters that he blames himself for the discomfort he was experiencing in his shoulder, tying the ailment to the fact that he focused too much on strengthening his rotator cuff this offseason while neglecting other areas of the shoulder:
"Last year, with it being the rotator cuff, this offseason that’s pretty much all I was working on. I neglected the other things. So everything was at an imbalance. That’s when I started having the shoulder-pinching issues and discomfort. The scap muscles are weak, so the shoulder blade is going at an awkward position. That’s relaying up to my shoulder. He (the doctor) said that’s causing some pinching back there. He said that’s probably the discomfort that I’m feeling."
As far as his opening day start, Niese had the following to say:
"I don’t foresee it being a setback if I get everything strong. I don’t think it has anything to do with the [number of Grapefruit League] starts. It’s the pitch count. If I get my pitches up there, then it should be fine."
When news broke that Jonathon Niese was heading to New York for an MRI on his pitching shoulder, alarm bells were sounded by some in the media and most fans.
However, Niese’s ailment was downplayed from the start, never seemed serious, and the results of the MRI bore that out.
This is clearly something to keep an eye on due to Niese’s rotator cuff issue last season, but it doesn’t appear that Niese is in any type of danger health-wise. He’ll be eased back in by the training staff, and will take it from there.