Mets option Jeremy Hefner to Las Vegas, activate Jon Niese

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Niese will take Hefner's spot in the team's now-five-man rotation.

The Mets optioned Jeremy Hefner to Triple-A Las Vegas and activated Jon Niese from the disabled list this afternoon. In doing so, general manager Sandy Alderson hinted Hefner might also be headed for the disabled list after struggling recently in the big leagues.

With that, the Mets' flirtation with a six-man rotation has seemingly been put to rest, at least for now. Niese joins Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia, and Dillon Gee in the team's rotation.

A few weeks ago, Hefner's numbers were very good, but they've regressed quite a bit over the past month. In total, he has a 4.34 ERA and 4.48 FIP on the season, and he's credit with 0.3 WAR by Fangraphs. While an injury isn't out of the question, his fastball velocity has looked pretty normal in his recent starts. According to Hefner, though, his elbow's been barking all season, and he thinks it's because Carlos Beltran hit it with a line drive in spring training. Blame Beltran.

As for Niese, he clearly wasn't himself early this season before hitting the disabled list with a partially torn rotator cuff. He made three rehab starts in the minor leagues with 11 K, 4 BB, and a 2.45 ERA before the Mets activated him today.

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