Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Mets [Print without images]

Saturday, August 17, 2013
Niese tests rotator cuff, which appears OK

By Adam Rubin

SAN DIEGO -- Terry Collins decided to push Jonathon Niese to 111 pitches in the southpaw's second start since returning from a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder.

Niese appears to have passed the test fine. The southpaw limited San Diego to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out nine in six innings as the New York Mets beat the San Diego Padres, 5-2, Friday night.

"I didn't feel anything in my shoulder," Niese said. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow. The signs point to it should feel great."

Niese had thrown 83 pitches five days earlier at Arizona. Friday's pitch count was his highest since May 16 at St. Louis.

"It's all part of trying to get him back," Collins said. "And the only way he's going to get back is to pitch. After the fifth inning I just thought if he could go out there one more time it'll help him down the road here. Certainly he went out and did a good job. But he had to work hard."

Asked if it was a good sign that Niese got through the sixth, Collins added: "We'll find out tomorrow. Obviously the adrenaline always helps. I thought that certainly tonight we wanted to try to extend him and build up a little bit more endurance in his arm."

Niese’s return gives the Mets a solid nucleus going forward along with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, plus what is on the way in the upper minors.

"We knew there had to be something wrong -- that something wasn't right -- because this guy is too good of a pitcher," Collins said about Niese's pre-DL performance. "As we get into September, we want to make sure we don't overdo it, because the winter rest is going to help him out. But he's showing you right now he's a huge piece for us. When he was out, we missed him."