UPDATE II: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that Niese will travel to New York to be examined by team doctors tomorrow.
UPDATE: According to Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, the Mets announced that Niese exited with left shoulder discomfort.
8:44 PM: Jon Niese left tonight’s start against the Braves in the bottom of the fourth inning with an apparent injury. No word yet on the exact nature of the injury, but Niese winced after throwing a pitch and David Lennon of New York Newsday notes that he appeared to say “shoulder” when a team trainer came out to the mound. That’s just speculation for now, though.
It’s worth noting that Niese was skipped in the rotation late last month with left shoulder tendinitis. Coincidentally, Mets manager Terry Collins told Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal earlier today that it was no longer an issue.
Coming off a career-best 3.40 ERA last season, Niese has a 4.32 ERA and 49/33 K/BB ratio in 77 inning across 14 starts this season. The Mets were eventually going to have to bump somebody from the rotation to make room for Zack Wheeler, but an injury to Niese isn’t the ideal way to make that happen.
Niese, 26, signed a five-year, $29.5195 million extension with the Mets last April and is owed $5 million next season, $7 million in 2015, and $9 million in 2016. His contract also includes club options for 2017 and 2018.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.