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Thursday, February 27, 2014
Jonathon Niese to resume throwing

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- An MRI of New York Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese's pitching shoulder has come back "clean," and the southpaw will resume throwing within a couple of days, manager Terry Collins said.

Niese had been dispatched to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Wednesday after complaining of shoulder discomfort. He told before departing that the exam primarily was for peace of mind considering he missed two months last season with a partially torn rotator cuff.

Collins said the only issue is some weakness with the scapula, in the back of the shoulder. Still, Niese will be permitted to resume throwing this weekend. He will miss his first scheduled Grapefruit League start, though, which had been slated for Tuesday against the Houston Astros.

The Mets continue to plan for Niese to start on Opening Day, March 31 against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. The club has Bartolo Colon lined up for the second game of the season, followed by Dillon Gee in Game 3. Zack Wheeler is due to open the second series, against the Cincinnati Reds.

Niese, 27, signed a five-year, $25.5 million deal on April 4, 2012, that includes two team options. He went 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 24 starts last season but missed nearly two months.

"They think in a few days he'll be back and ready to go," Collins said. "So we'll get him back on a mound as soon as we can. But it was very, very good news. The shoulder is actually very, very good -- a clean shoulder. They said it looks better than it did last year at this time, which is great news for us."

Collins said he expected good news after getting an initial report from pitching coach Dan Warthen on Wednesday.

"Dan said, 'Terry, of all the years I've done this, I just don't see this being a major problem,'" Collins said. "I went home and felt OK."