Knee surgery to sideline Niese at least 4 weeks

Knee surgery to sideline Niese at least 4 weeks

ST. LOUIS -- Jonathon Niese's second stint with the Mets began with a July 31 trade from the Pirates, continued with a pair of unsuccessful rotation turns, and likely ended Wednesday, when the team announced that he will undergo surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.

Though Niese has been dealing with knee pain since June, experiencing a flare-up during his start last week in Arizona, he took the mound regardless Tuesday against the Cardinals. It did not go well; Niese walked two batters, allowed an RBI single to another and only then admitted his discomfort, walking off the field alongside trainer Ray Ramirez.

The next morning, Niese boarded a flight to New York, where team doctors recommended surgery. The operation carries a recovery time of at least four weeks, taking Niese toward the end of the regular season. Only if he made the team's postseason roster would Niese stand a reasonable chance of returning this season, but his 11.45 ERA in 11 innings with the Mets paints that as a long shot, as well.

The Mets are likely to spend the $1 million required to buy out both Niese's $10 million team option for 2017, and his $11 million option for 2018.

Those decisions, however, will come in November. In the short term, the Mets announced that Robert Gsellman will start in Niese's place Sunday against the Phillies, after delivering 3 2/3 shutout innings in his big league debut in relief of Niese on Tuesday. In 20 starts split between Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Binghamton this season, Gsellman went 4-9 with a 3.99 ERA.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.