Mets Spring Training Question 19: Jon Niese
With 19 days before pitchers and Molinas report, let’s discuss Jonathon Niese and his health.
Wait, what? What’s the worry with Jon Niese, you say? If you remember, Niese suffered an intercostal strain in late August and was placed on the 15-day disabled list — yet never returned.
Granted, September was meaningless and Niese had already begun showing signs of fatigue before suffering the strain in his side; there wasn’t any point in bringing him back even if he was 100% healthy.
But still, the fact that he didn’t return in 2011 puts a tiny shred of doubt as spring training opens — a shred that can be easily eliminated after one simple bullpen session. I don’t know enough about the specifics of Niese’s strain, but I know too much about the failure rate of Mets players coming back from injury — setbacks seem to be expected. Hopefully, Niese took enough time off to allow the strain to heal, and went through a proper rehab to prevent the injury from ever happening again. Further, we hope that the injury is completely out of Niese’s mind; if it’s lingering in his thoughts, it could affect his mechanics. Finally, we must hope that he doesn’t injure himself again. Reportedly, it occurred as a result of swinging the bat, not pitching, but still the question must be asked: why? Was he swinging too hard? Were his swing mechanics out of whack so badly that it caused the strain? Whatever it was, has it been corrected?
I’m betting that there is a 99.8% chance that Niese is completely healed and will never have to worry about another intercostal strain — that it was a freak injury and had nothing to do with anything he could have avoided. But there is still that 0.2% sliver of doubt that will be there until he successfully finishes that first bullpen session.
Your thoughts? Do you have any concern whatsoever about Niese’s side? If Niese were unable to start the season, how would the Mets replace him? Answer in the comments.