SAN FRANCISCO -- Mets starter Jon Niese was told he could begin a throwing program by team doctors after a favorable follow-up exam Monday in New York.
Niese has been sidelined with a partial left rotator cuff tear since he left a June 20 start with discomfort. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Monday's MRI led to the decision to allow Niese to begin throwing.
"Basically the new MRI showed the inflammation was gone, the fluid was out of the shoulder," Ricco said. "The way the doctor termed it, he has 'normal wear and tear' on the shoulder, but it looks pretty good."
Ricco said Niese traveled to Port St. Lucie, Fla., the site of the team's Spring Training complex and home of the Class A affiliate, to begin throwing. He added that there is no timetable for Niese's return to the club or when he could begin throwing off a mound, but he did say the club expects Niese back sometime this season.
In 14 starts this season, Niese is 3-6 with a 4.32 ERA and is part of a rotation hampered by injuries, with Johan Santana out for the season and Shaun Marcum currently experiencing numbness in his right hand.
"I had all the confidence that Jon Niese would pitch again this summer," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I talked to him the other day and he felt great and was just waiting for the MRI, but he felt good enough to say, 'I'll be back soon.'
"It was good news today to hear that we're ready to move forward. That's good news for us."