Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Collins to announce Opening Day starter within days

Collins to announce Opening Day starter within days play video for Collins to announce Opening Day starter within days

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Manager Terry Collins said that he will announce his Opening Day starter "in the next couple of days," making official what has already been apparent for at least a week.

Because Johan Santana has not thrown off a mound since mid-February, left-hander Jon Niese will earn his first career Opening Day assignment. The Mets had no other obvious candidates, with Matt Harvey yet to pitch a full season in the big leagues and Shaun Marcum and Dillon Gee both coming off injury-shortened seasons.

Niese, by contrast, is fresh off his best year as a big leaguer, having set career bests in victories (13), innings (190 1/3), strikeouts (155) and ERA (3.40). He also posted the best walk rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career.

"It'd be great," Niese said when asked last week about the potential assignment. "It would be an honor. It's great that the Mets have put their trust in me."

The Mets still have no timetable for the return of Santana, who has been extending the distance of his long-toss program in Port St. Lucie, but there are simply not enough days left for him to prepare for Opening Day.

"His arm still feels better, so he's continuing to back up," Collins said. "As his throwing program gets better, he increases his distance, and he gets closer to the mound."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español