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Thursday, May 16, 2013
Niese lifts arm slot, Mets to victory

By Adam Rubin

ST. LOUIS -- Jonathon Niese believed he got into bad habits early in the season, with discomfort unconsciously prompting him to lower his arm angle.

He aimed to correct that with 70-plus bullpen session Monday -- about 20 pitches more than normal.

Niese felt he accomplished that mission. After allowing 15 runs in 8 1/3 innings over his previous two starts, Niese limited the St. Louis Cardinals to two runs on six hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings Thursday as the Mets won, 5-2. Niese (3-4) earned his first victory since April 12.

“I tried to keep my arm in that good arm slot and it worked out today,” Niese said about throwing from a higher arm angle. “… I’m just glad [pitching coach] Dan [Warthen] and I were able to get that good work in the bullpen and figure out what was going wrong mechanically. Fortunately, I was able to fix it.”

Said Terry Collins: “He threw some 93 mph fastballs today. He hasn’t done that all year. His cutter was very good. That’s why he got the groundballs. His two-seamer was good today. So whatever they did in the bullpen worked.

“I wasn’t worried about Jon,” the manager continued. “I do believe the cold weather took a lot out of him. I really do. It caused some stiffness in him and he didn’t pitch very good. I knew he was going to get it going. If there’s no arm issues, which there wasn’t, he’s going to pitch well. I think right now, as the weather starts to get warm, you’re going to see the Jon Niese we’re all accustomed to seeing.”