Jon Niese diagnosed with left shoulder strain

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Another ugly season for the Mets just got uglier.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, starting pitcher Jon Niese has been diagnosed with a strained left shoulder and placed on the 15-day disabled list. Niese left his Friday start against the Rangers after being struck on the back by a line drive but that has nothing to do with this shoulder injury, which has been lingering and could threaten to sideline the lefty for a considerable amount of time.

Rubin notes that Niese’s fastball velocity is at a career-low average of 88.6 mph this season — down from 90.2 mph in 2013. But he’s still been pretty effective at that diminished speed, posting a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 103 1/3 innings. Dillon Gee (lat) will replace him in the Mets’ starting rotation this week.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.