Jonathon Niese threw a bullpen session Monday morning, his first time off a mound since experiencing elbow discomfort and leaving his most recent Grapefruit League start early.
Mar 11, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (49) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Niese, 27, noted after the session that the plan is for him to make his season debut on April 6th against Cincinnati. However, Niese pointed out that until he sees how his body reacts to Monday’s session, he won’t know for sure whether the April 6th return is set in stone.
In his next test, Niese is scheduled to throw 55 to 60 pitches in a minor league game on Thursday. If that goes off without a hitch, it’ll likely be safe to pencil him in for the April 6th start.
While Niese is targeting April 6th as his return, the Mets will start him on the disabled list (backdating it 9 days into spring training) in order to carry an extra player between March 31st and the date Niese is activated.
After having issues with both his shoulder and his elbow during spring training, the health of Niese is certainly something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
In addition to the maladies he experienced during camp, Niese is pitching with a partially torn rotator cuff in his shoulder – an injury he worked back from in 2013.