Amidst trade rumors surrounding the talented lefty, Jonathon Niese showed up with a smile to the Mets Kids’ Holiday Party. He said he feels good and is eager for spring training to begin.
Though it’s unlikely the Mets trade Niese, he said it’s a matter in which he has no control.
“Obviously, it’s not my decision where I pitch,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll stay here with the Mets, and I’m looking forward to it.”
And we as fans are surely looking forward to a full, healthy season of Niese. He said that his goal is to pitch more than 200 innings in 2012 and has been working on his cardiovascular endurance to help him achieve that goal. He’s had injury troubles in his brief career so wants to stay in good shape to avoid any future problems.
Niese said he will not add anything new to his repertoire, but he will instead try to master the four pitches he has. He wants every pitch to be 100 percent and wants to make sure that he feels confident in using them all so he can mix his pitches well.
Having Johan Santana back (hopefully) will also be a nice boost for Niese, who has already learned so much from the veteran lefty.
“He’s [Santana] a huge force,” Niese said. “With an injury, you can never tell, but we’re looking forward to have him back. Just his presence alone will help on our staff a lot.”
Niese enjoyed being teammates with another lefty, Chris Capuano, but Capuano is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Niese said he would miss Chris very much.
“Those moves happen; you just got to move on,” said Niese.
Though Niese has absorbed what veterans R.A. Dickey and Chris Young have told him, he likes learning from fellow lefties.
“Obviously as a lefty, you’d like to talk to other lefties to see how they get hitters out,” he said.
Additionally, Niese likes the team’s new additions to the bullpen. The organization believes Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco will sure up the end of the game.
“I think they [the front office] filled the holes that needed to be filled,” Niese said. “I look forward to meeting the guys and working with them.”
Niese anticipates his matchup against former teammate Jose Reyes and the Miami Marlins. He said he is very excited for the challenge.
“Watching him hit for a while…hopefully, I picked up enough to learn how to get him out,” said Niese.
As a pitcher, Niese said the new Citi Field dimensions would not change the way he pitches. He will still try to get ground balls and doesn’t think the new dimensions will be a big issue for the staff. He does think that the defense will improve in the ballpark.
“All those bloop hits that fell…I think those are going to be caught this year,” he said.
Finally, Niese anticipates the day where he will pitch in meaningful games late in the season. He had a brief taste in 2008 when he made a few spot starts, but he said the goal of every pitcher is to pitch in the postseason.
“Hopefully, if things go right for us,” Niese said. “We can reach that.”