Jonathon Niese's spring training has been slowed to a crawl by injuries. Niese underwent an MRI early in the spring after complaining of a dead arm, but after things checked out Niese started pitching again. Niese was ineffective in several spring starts before being undergoing another exam on his elbow. Even though the elbow exam revealed no problems with his ligaments, Niese is still likely to begin the season on the disabled list, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports.
Niese doesn't have any ligament damage, but the problem he has is that the constant injury struggles this spring have impacted his ability to prepare for the season. Niese's DL stint will be used to give him time to build up his arm strength and innings until he is ready to go in a regular season game. Niese's first start of the season could be on Sunday, April 6th when the Mets face the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets won't need a fifth starter until then, so they could carry an extra bench player or bullpen arm for a few days.
If Niese takes longer to get ready, the Mets are considering John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia as options for the fifth starter's spot. Lannan started today against the Marlins and struggled, allowing five earned runs in 3.1 innings during a 10-7 loss. Mejia hasn't been spectacular this spring either, but the team appears inclined to start Mejia off in the Triple-A rotation to begin the season.
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