Now he might not even make one.
The Mets are likely to put Niese on the disabled list with a shoulder issue, a source told ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin on Saturday night. Niese, who wasn't available to the media before Saturday's game, was said not to be in agreement with the decision.
"I'll be here tomorrow," Niese said when approached after the Mets' 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
The Mets announced early in Saturday's game that veteran reliever Buddy Carlyle will join the team from Triple-A Las Vegas. No corresponding move was immediately announced. Manager Terry Collins admitted after the game that putting Niese on the DL is a possibility, but said the Mets would wait until Sunday to make a final decision.
Putting Niese on the DL wouldn't require much roster maneuvering. Dillon Gee is just about ready to come off the DL, and would be on schedule to pitch on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves, in what would otherwise be Niese's next turn.
"I feel like I'm ready," Gee said Saturday.
Niese was forced out of his Friday night start against the Rangers after just 12 pitches when he was hit on the side by an Alex Rios line drive. Niese, who argued against coming out, said after the game he was fine and hoped the Mets would bring him back to start Monday or Tuesday so that he could start twice before the All-Star break.
Collins suggested Saturday that the Mets wouldn't be bringing Niese back early. While Collins didn't say anything Saturday afternoon about the possibility of putting Niese on the DL, he did say Niese had unspecified health concerns other than the bruise on his side.
The Mets have had some concern about Niese's shoulder, in part because the velocity on his fastball has been down this season. Niese had consistently averaged between 90 and 91 mph the last three seasons, according to fangraphs.com. This season, his fastball has averaged just 88.6 mph.
"He's talked about some other issues," Collins said. "We'll see how he is [Sunday] when it's time for him to throw again."
Danny Knobler is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.