Niese downplays pitching with knee soreness

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jon Niese has been pitching with soreness in his right knee since the end of last year, the left-hander acknowledged Friday, though he does not consider it a source of concern. Niese threw three scoreless innings against the Tigers on Friday.

"It was just a little sore at the end of the year," Niese said. "Just a little fatigue, but there's no issue."

The Mets hope that Niese, entering his age-26 season and the presumed beginning of his baseball prime, can eclipse 200 innings for the first time in his career. He will wear a brace on his right knee to assuage the soreness.