Niese to miss rest of season

NEW YORK -- Rookie Jonathon Niese became the New York Mets' latest injury victim Wednesday, his season ending in frightening fashion when he tore his right hamstring while covering first base against the St. Louis Cardinals and then collapsed during a practice pitch.

Niese was hurt in the second inning when Joe Thurston hit a one-out grounder to Daniel Murphy with runners at the corners. The first baseman threw to shortstop Angel Berroa, who made a return throw to first. Niese stretched and wound up doing the splits as Thurston beat the throw.

When Niese tried to throw a warmup pitch from the stretch, he grimaced at the end of his follow-through, fell and held the back of his right leg. He needed assistance to leave the field, putting his arms around two trainers.

"An MRI this afternoon revealed a complete tear of the right upper hamstring tendon from the bone," the Mets said in a statement after their 9-0 win. "He will undergo surgery for its repair. Niese is out for the remainder of the season and is expected to be ready for spring training."

On another day when MRI was in the team's vocabulary as much as RBI, shortstop Jose Reyes was re-examined. While the Mets were not specific, it appears his chance to play again this season is dwindling. Reyes has not been in a game since May 20.

"The MRI showed significant scar tissue and inflammation behind the right knee, related to the hamstring tendon injury, which has caused continued pain," the Mets said in a statement. "Reyes will remain in New York for manual physical therapy in an effort to break up the scar tissue and reduce the inflammation. "

A 22-year-old left-hander, Niese was making his third start for the Mets since taking over a rotation slot from Fernando Nieve, who tore a muscle in his right thigh trying to beat out a grounder at Atlanta on July 19. Niese, 1-1 since his recall from the minors, allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings against the Cardinals, struck out two and walked one.

He was replaced by Nelson Figueroa, who lasted just five outs against Arizona on Monday, allowing six runs and 10 hits in a 6-5 loss. Figueroa retired Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse on an inning-ending flyout and pitched 4 1/3 innings in all.

Figueroa said Niese needed medication because of the injury.

"Early on, he was just in a world of pain," Figueroa said.

Injury-ravaged New York, fourth in the NL East at 51-56, already had nine players on the disabled list, including center fielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado, Reyes and setup man J.J. Putz.

Second baseman Luis Castillo was out of the starting lineup, a day after spraining his left ankle when he slipped and fell in the dugout.

Castillo grounded out leading off the seventh in New York's 12-7, 10-inning loss to St. Louis on Tuesday night. He was on his way back to the bench when he tumbled down the dugout steps and needed to be helped up the tunnel to the clubhouse by some teammates.

Manager Jerry Manuel said Castillo is day to day.

Left fielder Gary Sheffield, just off the disabled list last weekend, aggravated a hamstring injury while rounding first base after a sixth-inning hit and came out of the game to avoid a setback.

"Not bad at all," Sheffield said. "Now we have to get to a point where we have to check my electrolytes and find out really why I'm cramping up like this."