Jon Niese loses no-hitter in seventh against the Braves

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In his first start after signing a five-year contract, Jon Niese took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Braves.

Niese lost the no-hitter on a Freddie Freeman single after Dan Uggla walked to start the seventh. Matt Diaz followed with a fly to right that Lucas Duda lost in the sun for an error. Jason Heyward then rocketed a two-run double to right-center to knock Niese from the game

The Mets were up 7-0 at the beginning of the seventh, so they couldn’t have been too disappointed by the series of events. Niese gave up his first hit on his 98th pitch, and the Mets weren’t going to want him throwing 120-130 pitches in going for a no-no in his first start of the year.

Niese’s big outing today followed a spring in which he amassed a 5.73 ERA and allowed 28 hits in 22 innings. The league hit .284 against him last year (compared to .251 for MLB as a whole), giving him a mediocre 4.40 ERA despite rather strong peripherals.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.