Morning Briefing: Awaiting Niese verdict


FIRST PITCH: While the recent hype is rightfully about Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, David Wright understands Jonathon Niese is an integral piece, too.

So the Mets will hope for the best when Niese gets his left shoulder examined Friday by team doctors in New York.

“You talk about the electric stuff of both Harv and Wheeler, but then Niese I think is a front-end-type guy when he’s healthy and he’s right,” Wright said. “Whether it’s injuries or just inconsistencies, he’s very, very underrated. When he’s on, he’s as tough as anybody from the left side.”

The Mets, meanwhile, awake today in the City of Brotherly Love, where they face the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend.

Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96 ERA) opposes NL loss leader Cole Hamels (2-10, 4.40) in Friday’s 7:05 p.m. series opener.

Read the series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

• Niese appears headed to the disabled list after experiencing pain in his cranky pitching shoulder during the fourth inning Thursday. Greg Burke is expected to join the Mets this weekend in Philadelphia from Triple-A Las Vegas, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. As a result of Niese’s shoulder issue, the Mets have found an unattractive way to trim the rotation from six to five starters.

Elsa/Getty Images

Jon Niese's shoulder will be examined today in New York.

Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:

According to Sandy Alderson's 2014 blueprint, Jonathon Niese figured to be the ideal building block.

Left-handed. Twenty-six years old. Under the Mets' control through 2016, with two additional option years, and roughly $24 million guaranteed.

All Niese had to do this season was continue being Jonathon Niese, and the Mets would feel confident about slotting him between Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. But after the dynamic duo lived up to the hype this week, the dream scenario veered off course last night when Niese left in the fourth inning with what the Mets described as "left shoulder discomfort."

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Newsday and MLB.com.

• Wright homered twice, Josh Satin had the go-ahead RBI and Josh Edgin retired Jason Heyward for the final out of the eighth after inheriting the tying run on third base as the Mets beat the Braves, 4-3, Thursday at Turner Field. The Mets won the rubber game of the five-game set, becoming the first visiting team this season to win a series in Atlanta.

• After a spirited pregame chat with his former college coach, who is now managing Triple-A Tucson, Ike Davis homered twice, doubled and drove in three runs Thursday for Las Vegas. Terry Collins said Davis is making an effort to reduce the hitch in his swing while working with hitting coach George Greer as well as Wally Backman. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday and Record.

• Kevin Plawecki belted a three-run homer in his first career Florida State League at-bat and St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 8-6. Plawecki, Jayce Boyd and Bret Mitchell had been promoted from Savannah to St. Lucie before Thursday’s game. Brooklyn posted its first win of the season behind John Gant’s five scoreless innings. Read the full minor league recap here.

• MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. The extensive ballpark refurbishment included a new artificial turf field, which replaced natural grass. That will allow the team to more easily host other events. Writes Dave Caldwell in the Journal about the days after the storm:

When Billy Harner, the team's director of communications, walked into his office, he first noticed "the obvious stuff," like photos that had been hanging on the wall were on the ground, covered in grime.

"When I picked up one photo that was of sentimental value to me -- a photo of Shea Stadium that my father had hanging in his office before he passed away -- I saw my keyboard underneath the poster," Harner said. "Laying across the keyboard was a shrimp, antennas and all."

• Jay Schreiber in the Times sees a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mets.

From the bloggers … MetsMinors.net spotlights left-hander Steven Matz, who quietly is having a solid season at Savannah. … Metsmerized suggests Harvey could become the best pitcher the Mets have ever drafted, and wouldn't swap him for any other pitcher in the game. … John Delcos at Mets Report recommends the Mets enjoy Harvey and Wheeler and the rest will take care of itself.

BIRTHDAYS: Lefty reliever Jeff Musselman, who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on July 31, 1989 for Mookie Wilson, turns 50.


YOU’RE UP: How concerned are you about Jon Niese’s shoulder?