NEW YORK -- Jonathon Niese pronounced his return to the mound a success.
Niese threw 21 pitches in the home bullpen at Citi Field on Sunday morning, took a break to simulate a half-inning, then threw an additional 17 pitches. It was his first time working off a mound since a 12-pitch appearance on July 4, when he departed after getting struck with a line drive in his lower back.
New York Mets
Niese officially landed on the DL the following day with a left shoulder strain. An MRI last Monday revealed inflammation in the AC joint.
The Mets plan to activate Niese from the DL to face the Seattle Mariners on July 21, to open the second series after the All-Star break. The southpaw will throw another bullpen session when the Mets reconvene Friday in San Diego to affirm his readiness.
Niese is eligible to return from the DL next Sunday, on the final day in San Diego, but Terry Collins prefers having Niese wait until Seattle, where lefty-hitting Robinson Cano poses a big danger.
“I was a little rusty at the beginning, but I was able to get loose off the mound and was able to cut loose,” Niese said about Sunday’s session. “So it felt good. It feels a lot stronger. The ball is coming out a lot better. It was a good day.”