Jon Niese didn’t need heart surgery after all

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Back in June Jonathan Niese left a start with a rapid heartbeat. He missed a couple of days but then came back and finished out his season, with doctors deciding that he did not need a heart procedure — an ablation procedure — until the offseason.

Now it’s the offseason and the doctors have changed their mind again: he doesn’t need it. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports:

“The doctors just said that it was nothing major and that I didn’t need to have surgery,” Niese said via telephone Monday evening. “I’m just going to go on as normal and that’s it. It’s a really good thing.”

Niese finished the season 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA in 190 innings.

Michael Wacha leaves game with a left oblique strain

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha suffered a strained left oblique muscle during his start this afternoon against the Phillies, causing him to leave in the fourth inning.

Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis. To the extent he has to miss some time — and obliques invariably send starters to the disabled list — potential fill-in candidates include John Gant, Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson.