This dreary Mets season took a shocking turn Wednesday when pitcher Jon Niese collapsed on the mound with a hamstring injury while attempting a warmup pitch in the second inning.
Niese had covered first base on the back end of an attempted 3-6-1 double play on a ball hit by Joe Thurston of the Cardinals. He stretched both legs awkwardly while catching the throw; his left foot touched the base, but too late to record the out.
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Niese went back to the mound in discomfort as manager Jerry Manuel and trainer Ray Ramirez came out. Niese attempted a warmup pitch and crumpled in agony as his right leg gave out on his follow-through.
The crowd gasped.
Niese lay on the mound for a few minutes before he was helped off the field. He did not put any weight on his right leg and left the stadium to visit the Hospital for Special Surgery for an MRI.
The Mets announced Niese has a strained right hamstring. They did not announce any further information.
In the sixth inning, recently activated Gary Sheffield hit a would-be double into the gap in left field but pulled up lame running to first and settled for a single. He walked off the field in pain and straight into clubhouse.
Sheffield came off the disabled list Sunday after being sidelined since July 17 with a strained right hamstring. It was not immediately known if he aggravated the injury.
The Mets have nine players on the disabled list. Second baseman Luis Castillo was not in the lineup on Wednesday after he sprained his ankle walking down the dugout steps during Tuesday’s 12-7, 10-inning loss to St. Louis.