New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese was forced to leave his start Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers after getting hit by a come backer off the bat of Mark Ellis. Niese was clearly hobbled immediately after the ball hit the lower part of his leg around the area of his ankle and Achilles. He was able to get to his feet and walk off the field, but without tossing any warmup pitches, Niese was removed from the game and immediately became a big concern for the Mets.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Mets had lost just one game started by either Niese or Matt Harvey and won just two games started by anybody else in their rotation. The Mets have survived the first three weeks of April on the merits of Niese and Harvey alone, so taking one of them out of the equation, if Niese were to miss significant time because of the injury, would be a devastating blow to the Mets, who may not be able to survive without their opening day starter.
It’s too early to assume anything, but the Mets are already running thin in their rotation, even with Niese. Shaun Marcum is due to make his season debut on Saturday, but that would give the Mets just four of their projected starters, with Jeremy Hefner still serving as a fill in at the back end of their rotation. If Niese is unable to make his next scheduled start, it would create a hole in the Mets’ rotation that they would not be able to fill. The Mets have to hope that Niese’s exit from Tuesday night’s game turns out to be just a precaution, because if he can’t get back on the mound soon, the Mets season could start to unravel in a hurry.