MLB roundup: June 20

New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese wipes his face after giving up a run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Citi Field in New York, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

The Mets received some bad news this afternoon, as it was announced that starting pitcher Jon Niese has a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He’s been placed on the 15-day DL and the Mets will take another look in two week’s time. It’s possible that Niese avoids surgery, but we may have seen the last of him this season.

Niese had three relatively strong seasons from 2010 to 2012, but he struggled this year, going 3-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 14 starts. He was walking more batters and striking out fewer than he had over that three-year span.

Niese’s injury certainly puts a bit of a damper on the recent promotion of Zack Wheeler. Dillon Gee has been hit or miss so far this year, although he’s been better lately. Shaun Marcum still hasn’t won a game since signing as a free agent over the winter. It means the Mets are going to have to rely on their organizational depth to fill out the rest of the rotation until Niese returns.

Perhaps the rotator cuff is the reason for Niese’s struggles this season. If that’s the case, the Mets might be better off having him sit out the rest of the season so he can return healthy in 2014. With a Harvey-Wheeler-Niese trio at the top of the rotation, the Mets would have one of the better staffs in the NL.

The Yankees also made some roster moves on Friday, designating infielder Reid Brignac for assignment to make room for Alberto Gonzalez. Brignac has a reputation of having a great glove, but he was never much of a hitter at the big league level. Gonzalez, the Yankees hope, will bring a bit more offense to the table. It’s likely that Jayson Nix is the everyday shortstop going forward, with David Adams seeing most of the time at third base.

With Kevin Youkilis now likely out for the season with back problems, Yankees fans must be looking forward to Alex Rodriguez’s return. If he can provide any offense at all, it would be a right-handed power bat the team desperately needs.

What to watch this weekend…

  • The Yankees’ series against Tampa Bay continues. It’ll be David Phelps against the former Fausto Carmona tonight.
  • The Mets take on the Phillies for a weekend set, sending Jeremy Hefner to the hill against Cole Hamels. It’s hard to believe, but Hamels is 2-10 with a 4.40 ERA this year.
  • The Red Sox and Tigers, AL East and Central division leaders, respectively, play a series in Detroit. Jon Lester and Doug Fister meet tonight in a matchup between two of baseball’s best starters.
  • The Pirates make a rare trip to Anaheim for an interleague series. The Angels stormed back against King Felix and the Mariners after falling behind by seven runs last night. Pittsburgh has won 10 more games than the Angels.
  • Nobody would have guessed this in March, but when Bartolo Colon and Hisashi Iwakuma meet tonight in Oakland, it will be one of the best pitching matchups of the season. Colon, at age 40, is having a great season (9-2, 2.89 ERA and 10 walks in 90 innings). So is Iwakuma, who has better numbers (7-2, 2.06 ERA) than Felix Hernandez.
  • The Rangers and Cardinals continue an interleague series in St. Louis.
  • Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers play the Padres in San Diego tonight. Last time the Dodgers were in town, Zack Grienke landed on the DL after sustaining an injury in a bench-clearing brawl.

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    Will Montgomery

    Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full
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