According to the Mets, Jon Niese was pulled from the team's spring training game this afternoon because of discomfort in his pitching elbow. The 27-year-old lefty had an injury scare at the beginning of spring training, too, as he underwent an MRI on his left shoulder.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Niese says he previously hyperextended his elbow and that the injury is not in the area that would indicate the necessity of Tommy John surgery.
Niese missed a big chunk of last season with a partial tear in his left rotator cuff, but the shoulder injury did not end his season. In fact, he was a pretty good pitcher from the time he returned in early August until the end of the season. Like the first news about his shoulder this spring, however, no news is good news when it comes to a problem with a pitcher's pitching arm.
Last year, Niese totaled 24 starts with a 3.71 ERA and 3.58 FIP. On paper, he was to enter this season as one of the Mets' regular starting pitchers alongside Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, and Zack Wheeler. Should Niese be injured, Jenrry Mejia should be guaranteed a spot in the rotation to begin the year, presumably ending his battle with Daisuke Matsuzaka for the fifth spot in the rotation. Rafael Montero should probably get consideration for a spot, too, in that case, but it would be a shock if the Mets brought him up before gaining at least an extra year of control on him sometime in mid-April.