Jon Niese has been knocked around for 15 runs in his last two starts and now maybe we know why.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that Niese has been pitching through a neck injury all month and the left-hander admitted that it has caused him to alter his mechanics in a negative way by dropping his arm slot.
Niese told Martino that he plans to “do drills to get that muscle memory back” during his between-starts bullpen session. His next start is scheduled for Thursday against the Cardinals, who’ve scored the fourth-most runs in the league.
Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.
There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.
As for Reed, well, who knows.