Jon Niese diagnosed with partially torn rotator cuff

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As expected the Mets have placed Jon Niese on the disabled list after the left-hander exited last night’s start with shoulder pain.

Niese got off to a terrible start this season while pitching through neck and shoulder problems, but put together a very effective stretch of late with a 1.93 ERA and 23/11 K/BB ratio in five starts since mid-May.

Considering this isn’t the first time Niese has experienced shoulder soreness this season the Mets figure to be pretty cautious with any return timetable, although nothing has been announced officially yet. Niese signed a $30 million extension with the Mets last spring that puts him under team control through 2018.

UDPATE: Manager Terry Collins downplayed the severity of Niese’s injury, but assistant general manager John Ricco just told reporters that the left-hander has a partially torn rotator cuff. No surgery for now, but it’s certainly not a minor injury.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.