Niese Couldn’t Get His Curve Over, Still Working On Some Things

jon niese

It’s not the pitching line, but the feel of his pitches this time of year.

“I felt good. My stuff was very good,” Jonathan Niese said after this afternoon’s 62-pitch outing against the Venezuelan WBC team.

“I am not used to that kind of workload (this early in spring training). But, that’s a good thing.”

Niese said getting his curveball over and mastering his change-up is what concerns him most. Both are feel pitches requiring time to master.“I have to get my curveball over,” Niese said. “I couldn’t get my curve-ball over for strikes. My change-up is getting a lot better, but it’s not where I want. I need to build off this. Usually my change-up is always the last pitch. … I like where my arm strength is and I like how the ball is coming out of my hand.”

Niese called pitching to the Venezuelan team, which includes Miguel CabreraPablo Sandoval and Carlos Gonzalez as “humbling.”

“They have a good lineup,” Niese said. “They made me work. I made a couple of mistakes and they made me pay for them.”

Another thing Niese is getting acclimated to is pitching to veteran catcher John Buck. The first impression has been a good one.

“We have to work a lot more together,” Niese said. “He calls a great game.”

Manager Terry Collins said Niese will be the Opening Day starter if Johan Santana can’t go, which appears the likely scenario now.

“We all want it,”Niese said when asked if he coveted the assignment. “Who wouldn’t?”

Niese went 2.1 innings this afternoon and allowed four earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out one. Still some tweaking to do, but he’ll be fine.

I’ll be back with a wrap-up from St. Lucie later on. Hope you MMO readers are enjoying the additional coverage…

About John Delcos 577 Articles
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 30 years, including 18 in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I also covered the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians before that. Today I am a freelance writer and social director for several media outlets and a Senior Editor for Metsmerized Online.