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Mets, Jon Niese get lucky as MRI rules out elbow damage

Jon Niese is cleared to throw later this week after receiving a clean MRI.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Starting pitcher Jon Niese and the Mets can breathe a sigh of relief.

After leaving Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning with discomfort in his left elbow, Niese flew to New York to have a precautionary MRI. According to a report from the team (March 17), the test revealed no ligament damage to his elbow, so Niese received a cortisone shot to help reduce inflammation and will rest for two to three days before throwing again.

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, though, Niese may begin the year on the disabled list (DL) so he can stay in Port St Lucie for extended Spring Training. The Mets won’t need a fifth starter until April 6 when he would be due to come off the DL. But that would still leave the team without an Opening Day starter – manager Terry Collins suggested that Bartolo Colon or Dillon Gee would be the likely candidate to fill Niese’s spot.

This is not Niese’s first injury issue this spring. On February 26, he also traveled to New York for an MRI after experiencing discomfort in his pitching shoulder. That test revealed no damage in his shoulder either.