The battle for the fifth spot in the rotation has only just begun, but it was young Jon Niese who delivered the first impressive performance of the spring.
Tim Redding is already nursing a sore toe and shoulder. Freddy Garcia is reluctant to throw hard because he doesn’t want to push it. Livan Hernandez may actually be ahead of both of them right now, and that might not be a good thing.
However, don’t count Jon Niese out yet.
In the Mets first intra-squad game on Monday, it took Niese just 22 pitches to complete two perfect innings and grab his managers attention in the process.
“I thought Niese was very impressive,” Manuel said.
Niese was beaming after his performance which included strikeouts of both Dan Murphy and Ryan Church, but he remained grounded in his remarks afterward.
“Obviously, my chances are a little bit tougher,” Niese said. “All I can do is do my best in Spring Training. If I get the spot, then I get the spot. If not, I’ll just keep working.”
It was good day for all the Mets youngsters as Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell also delivered fine performances.
So far, so good. LGM