The New York Mets have placed Jon Niese on the 15 day disabled list and called up Buddy Carlyle from Triple-A Las Vegas. This seems to be unrelated to the fact that Niese left his last start after being hit in the back with a line drive. The team has said that Niese’s shoulder is strained and so they will shut him down for two weeks so he can rest.
Niese will likely miss one start before the All Star Break arrives and then will be able to return after the break.
For the time being, Carlyle will take Niese’s roster spot and move to the bullpen. On Wednesday, which was Niese’s slot to start, Dillon Gee will likely be activated off the DL to make the start. Gee has made three rehab starts for the Brooklyn Cyclones and the team had expressed interest in having Gee make one start before the break.
This move prevents the Mets from having to make a corresponding move for Gee’s activation. On Wednesday, Carlyle, or another pitcher, can simply be sent back to Las Vegas. The tough decision will come following the break when Niese can return. The Mets have been using a starting rotation of Niese, Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jacob deGrom in Gee’s absence. Because Gee will simply take Niese’s position the team avoids making the decision of who to bump from the rotation or demote.
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Carlyle had allowed only 3 hits in 4.1 innings in his first brief stint in the majors. Niese had an ERA of 2.96 with a 5-4 record in 17 starts this season. Niese has been incredibly consistent only recently snapping a streak, of consecutive starts with 6 innings and 3 runs or less that had dated back to last season. Meanwhile, before his injury Gee was 3-1 with an ERA of 2. 73 in eight starts, which is the best of all Mets starters this year, even if it is only in limited action.
Carlyle will provide some relief for a tired bullpen, after Niese went only 1/3 of an inning on Friday. Though he was not used often during his first stint with the team, just having an extra arm is sometimes comfort enough.
This is a team that can ill afford more injuries to their key contributors, of which Niese is one. Even still it may be too late. The Mets currently sit 11 games out of first place mainly as a result of recent hot playing from the Braves and Nationals.
As the trade deadline approaches the Mets need to have their players healthy perhaps as demonstrating to other teams what they are capable of doing. This is especially true when it comes to pitching. The Mets have an excess of good pitchers and if they are to make a trade, pitching may well be what is leaving. Sandly Alderson has given no hints as to what he intends to do in terms of the trade market but it would make more sense to trade some pitching for a consistent offensive player or two.
If the Mets can get both Gee and Niese healthy and pitching well at the same time, it gives them a chance to string wins together and put together a competitive showing in the second half of the season.