Jon Niese returns to Mets' spring training

Mets pitcher Jon Niese works out during spring

Mets pitcher Jon Niese works out during spring training practice Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, at Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Jonathon Niese was relieved to be back at spring training with the Mets camp on Tuesday after receiving a relatively good medical report.

The left-hander had a MRI of his pitching elbow in New York on Monday, and the scan revealed he had some inflammation but no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament.

"They said the UCL is strong and big and strong -- no bone arthritis or spurs or anything," Niese said. "So all the bones and ligaments are perfect. There's just a little inflammation in that joint in the back of my elbow. So I got a cortisone shot. It's a little sore today from the shot, but the soreness is going down. So I should be able to throw tomorrow."

Niese has a 13.50 ERA in two spring training appearances. He was slowed early in camp by muscle weakness in his shoulder, which also was examined in a main stream MRI.

Mets manager Terry Collins said Monday that Niese could begin the regular season in Port St. Lucie rather than New York to build arm strength, but cautioned that it was general manager Sandy Alderson's decision whether or not to put Niese on the disabled list. Niese was New York's opening-day starter last year.

"Whatever. I don't have an ego," he said. "I just want to get my arm ready. If that means I'm the fifth starter, the eighth starter, it doesn't matter to me, just as long as I get my arm right and I'm healthy so we can play in October."

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