PHILADELPHIA – Jon Niese has a partial tear of his left rotator cuff and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Mets lefty starter will not undergo surgery at this time, but the team hopes the tear will “begin to heal,” according to assistant general manager John Ricco.
Niese was forced to leave his start Thursday night in Atlanta with pain in his shoulder after just 3 1/3 innings which he allowed eight hits and three earned runs. An initial exam by doctors in the visitor’s clubhouse at Turner Field had Niese optimistic that it was just a flare up of the tendinitis he was diagnosed with in late May.
An MRI back in New York Friday, however, revealed the tear.
“Hopefully it will start healing itself and he won’t need surgery,” Ricco said. “But we’ll know more after a couple of weeks of rest. According to the doctors it’s a small-enough tear that with rest … they’re hopeful it won’t need surgery. It’s not ‘full thickness’ or a significant tear at this point.”
Niese was skipped in the rotation earlier this month with what the team said was left shoulder tendinitis. At the time, the team said Niese had an MRI on the shoulder, Ricco believes this is a new injury that did not appear on the first MRI.
Niese has dealt with neck and shoulder issues most of the season. Coming off a career-best 3.40 ERA last season, Niese (3-6) has a 4.32 ERA in 77 innings over 14 starts this season.
For the time being, at least, this solves the Mets dilemma of having six starters when Zack Wheeler returns for his expected start Tuesday.
Terry Collins said this was not the way he wanted to return to the traditional five-man rotation, and made a sarcastic jab at the media, who had been speculating about which pitcher would be the odd man out.
“You guys got your wish,” the Mets manager dryly told the media, “there’s only five of them left.”
Niese, 26, signed a five-year, $ 30 million extension with the Mets last April.
Greg Burke has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League to fill Niese’s roster spot.