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Niese cleared to resume throwing this week

Monday - 3/17/2014, 5:09pm  ET

New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese throws in the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, March 16, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

JON SANTUCCI
Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- New York Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese received a cortisone injection in the back of his left elbow Monday and was cleared to resume throwing later this week.

Niese underwent a MRI and an examination by team physician Dr. David Altchek in New York, and the Mets said the left-hander does not have ligament damage. After consulting pitching coach Dan Warthen, the Mets said Niese will wait 48-to-72 hours before he resumes throwing.

"It's really good news," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He sent Dan a text this morning saying, 'I felt there was nothing, be back on the mound in a couple days.' It was good to hear. Now we do a sigh of relief and come up with a plan to do finish out the last two weeks with him."

Niese has a 13.50 ERA in two exhibition games; he left his start Sunday against St. Louis after two innings due to elbow discomfort.

The scan was Niese's second of spring training. An MRI in late February revealed a weakened scapula muscle but no structural issues. Collins said he's not worried there may be an underlying injury.

"I'm not sure how many MRIs you're allowed to have in a month before we start worrying about things, but his arm's been looked at in every which way and direction," Collins said. "There's certainly nothing in there."

Niese is likely to start the season on the disabled list, and Collins has said Bartolo Colon probably will be New York's opening-day starter.

"We're certainly going to have an alternative plan," Collis said of the opener. "There's no doubt we're going to have to look in another direction. I'm not sure Jon's going to get the pitch count to where we need it to be. Probably by the end of the weekend we'll make a decision."

Because of Niese's injury, Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan probably will make the opening-day roster.


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