Jon Niese to make Grapefruit League debut Tuesday

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From beat writer Adam Rubin of ESPN New York comes word that Mets left-hander Jon Niese has been cleared to make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday against the Cardinals.

Niese came down with some left shoulder soreness at the end of February and was sent to New York for an MRI, but that exam showed no structural damage and he was able to throw two discomfort-free innings last Thursday morning in an instrasquad game.

If his health cooperates, Niese will start for the Mets in their regular-season opener March 31 against the Nationals. The 27-year-old old posted a 3.71 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 143 innings last summer.

Phillies talking to Blue Jays about Curtis Granderson

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are talking to the Blue Jays about outfielder Curtis Granderson.

Rosenthal says that the Phillies are looking at Granderson as a bench bat and fourth outfielder to be deployed against righties. Granderson, 37, is hitting .230/.337/.417 with nine homers and 29 RBI over 81 games this season, substantially better against righties. Against lefties he’s a clear liability.

Granderson was traded at last year’s deadline too, from the Mets to the Dodgers, but cratered badly after arriving in L.A. and was a non-entity in the playoffs.