Mets lefty Jonathon Niese has partial tear of rotator cuff

Al Bello

The 26-year-old left-hander left Thursday's start early.

In an afternoon press conference, manager Terry Collins said Jonathon Niese, who had to be pulled from his start against the Atlanta Braves yesterday, was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain but that it was "nothing severe." However, that turned out to be misinformation and Niese's outlook now is far more grim.

Mets assistant general manager John Ricco announced that Niese actually has a partial tear of his left rotator cuff but will not undergo surgery yet. He will rest for two weeks and then get another MRI before further action is considered. Ricco also said that the tear was a new one and that it had not popped up in a recent MRI.

It's a devastating setback for Niese and the Mets who were relying on him as one of the lynchpins of their rotation. Shoulder injuries are much more problematic for pitchers than elbow injuries, as evidenced by Johan Santana.

Niese has struggled mightily in 2013, posting a 4.32 ERA with a career-worst strikeout rate (5.73) and walk rate (3.86). The left-hander had spent time on the disabled list earlier this year with a shoulder injury and, before that, had been dealing with a neck issue that supposedly caused him to alter his pitching mechanics.

For now, the Mets will revert to a five-man rotation with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner, and Shaun Marcum.

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