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Sunday, August 11, 2013
Niese pain-free in return from DL

By Adam Rubin

PHOENIX -- Jon Niese felt pain-free in a major league game for the first time since early April.

"Probably the first few starts of the season I pitched without pain. And then, after that, it was a struggle from there," Niese said after earning the win Sunday in his return from the DL as the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-5.

Jon Niese
Jon Niese improved to 4-6 with Sunday's win in Arizona.
"I'm glad it felt good today. We'll see how it feels tomorrow, but I'm anticipating everything should be fine -- no soreness."

Niese, in his first major league start since landing on the DL after a June 20 appearance with a partial tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, surrendered a first-inning RBI double to Aaron Hill, then a three-homer to Hill in the third.

Niese finished his outing with three straight scoreless frames and departed after six innings with a 5-4 lead and his pitch count at 83.

"I thought he got better as the game went on," manager Terry Collins said. "It's been a while since he's been out there. But I thought later in the game his cutter started working better, his two-seamer was better. I thought he got comfortable."

Niese had logged 80 pitches in his final rehab start, with Double-A Binghamton, and wanted to continue in the seventh inning against the D-backs.

"He felt good enough that he wanted to go back out the next inning," Collins said. "I said, 'Look, 90 is our max anyway.'"

As for his return, Niese added: "It feels good. There's nothing like pitching in the big leagues. It's just good to get back out there with all of the guys."