Jon Niese makes early exit from start due to rapid heartbeat

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From Adam Rubin of ESPN New York comes word that Mets left-hander Jon Niese had to be lifted prematurely from his Saturday afternoon matchup with the Rangers due to a “rapid heartbeat.”

Niese struck out seven batters and allowed only two runs over 5 2/3 quality innings against a dangerous Rangers lineup. But it was a steamy day in north Texas and the heat almost certainly played a factor in the lefty’s irregular heartbeat.

Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters in his postgame press conference Saturday that the matter is not considered serious and Niese was later spotted smiling while walking around the visiting clubhouse. It’s feasible that the 24-year-old southpaw, who has a solid 3.70 ERA in 97 1/3 frames this season, won’t need to miss any more action.

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UPDATE, 7:55 PM: According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, Niese said he is “unalarmed” by the rapid heartbeat but is likely to undergo further testing next week in Detroit.

Dodgers feel optimistic about Corey Seager’s return in the World Series

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The Dodgers pulled through the five-game Championship Series without Corey Seager, but they’re counting down the days until their prized slugger/shortstop can make his first World Series appearance. He still has a ways to go before he can return to the field, however. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reports that while Seager has been hitting off a tee, taking soft toss and running the curves of the infield, he’ll need to practice hitting in a simulated game before he can rejoin the team next Tuesday.

The 23-year-old infielder went 3-for-15 with a triple and two RBI in the NLDS earlier this month. He was sidelined in Game 3 of the series after making a bad slide into second base and sustaining a lower back strain. Although he’s made fairly rapid progress in his recovery over the last two weeks, he’s not back at 100% just yet, and Roberts said he won’t make a final decision on his status until it gets closer to game time. Even if Seager makes a successful return to his starting position, the Dodgers may not get the same .295/.375/.479 hitter they relied on during the regular season.

Provided that everything goes smoothly over the next two days, though, there’s a decent chance Seager will find his way to the infield — or, at the very least, to the plate. “We’re very optimistic,” Roberts said Saturday. “Corey doesn’t want to be denied.”