Jon Niese cleared to resume throwing after follow-up exam on shoulder

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Jon Niese was diagnosed with a partial tear of his rotator cuff last month, but there’s a chance he could be back in the Mets’ rotation at some point during the second half of the season.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Niese was cleared to resume throwing after a had “a favorable follow-up exam” today with team doctors. There was some concern that surgery would be deemed necessary, so this is the best-case scenario under the circumstances. The 26-year-old left-hander will need some time to build his workload and will likely require multiple rehab starts, so he’s likely looking at a return in August if all goes well.

Niese has a 4.32 ERA and 49/33 K/BB ratio in 77 innings over 14 starts this season. The Mets signed him to a five-year, $25.5 million extension last April.

Padres acquire Phil Hughes from Twins

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Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.

Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.

Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.

The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.