Mets' Niese re-injures hamstring in start

Updated: May 16, 2010, 7:34 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

MIAMI -- New York Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese was removed from Sunday's game against the Florida Marlins after delivering a curveball to Hanley Ramirez in the third inning.

Niese waved to the dugout with his glove to motion for the trainer. He then crouched. The team announced he had a right proximal hamstring injury. Niese will be sent to New York for more tests.

The injury occurred on the preceding play when Niese barehanded a bunt and planted awkwardly before making a wild throw that allowed a run to score.

Niese said the trouble is in the same spot as last season's injury that prompted surgery, but this appears far less severe. In fact, a team source would not rule out Niese taking his scheduled turn on Friday against the Yankees, if doctors determine it was merely scar tissue breaking up or something else relatively insignificant.

"It was more a scare than anything," he said after the Mets lost 10-8 to complete a four-game series sweep. "I'm feeling a little sore now, nothing major. I don't want to miss a start. I'll do whatever I can, but that being said, I have to listen to the doctors."

Niese suffered an agonizing season-ending injury on the field last Aug. 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He injured the right hamstring tendon covering first base, then completely tore it while throwing a warm-up pitch. This time, Niese did not attempt a warm-up pitch, which he said was partly prompted by last year's event.

Niese felt a sharp pain at the time, but he said it was limited to stiffness now and he hoped to be allowed to proceed.

After a mound visit by assistant trainer Mike Herbst and manager Jerry Manuel, Niese departed.

"When it's close to how he did last time, of course you're concerned," Manuel said. "We have to be very careful with it. So there is a level of concern."

Hisanori Takahashi entered the game, disrupting the plan to use the Japanese left-hander on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals in the place of Oliver Perez -- although likely making him the starter against the Yankees in Niese's place, if Niese can't go. Takahashi tossed three relief innings, allowing two runs on four hits while walking four (two intentional) and striking out two.

Niese was charged with five runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out one in a 47-pitch outing.

As for Wednesday, one topic of discussion is to use Raul Valdes as the starter, and to call up a reliever from Triple-A to support him. John Maine has volunteered to move up to Wednesday, from Thursday, but that doesn't accomplish much.

If the Mets dip to Triple-A Buffalo, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey would be on turn and is pitching well. Pat Misch tossed a shutout on 91 pitches Saturday, but that would require pitching on short rest, making it a far less likely alternative.

Manuel all but ruled out revisting Perez in the rotation.

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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