Another day, another injured MLB pitcher.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that Mets starter Jon Niese was pulled from Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals with what’s being called a hyperextended left elbow. Niese suffered the injury 10 days ago in an intrasquad game and it began causing him discomfort in the second inning Sunday.
The hyperextension is near the back of the elbow, not in the area of the ulnar collateral ligament that is often repaired through Tommy John surgery. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in the clear. An MRI is scheduled for Monday in New York.
It is obviously now unlikely that the 27-year-old southpaw will be able to make his appointed Opening Day start. Bartolo Colon could get the nod instead. Dillon Gee is also an option.
Niese posted a solid 3.71 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 143 innings last summer for the Mets.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.