WASHINGTON - Jonathon Niese emerged from his throwing session Wednesday feeling "pretty confident" about his prospects of rejoining the rotation on Saturday against the Marlins.
"Kept the arm angle up, made some pitches in the bullpen at probably 85-90 percent intensity," said Niese, who has been sidelined with shoulder tendinitis. "It felt really good."
In his last four starts, Niese has pitched through what he described as soreness and "sharp pain" that was caused by various movements. But Niese said he could feel a "night-and-day difference" in his shoulder after the Mets pulled him from the rotation so he could rest.
If Niese can't pitch on Saturday, manager Terry Collins said the assignment will fall to righthander Collin McHugh.
Reliever Jeurys Familia underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. The 23-year-old had been expected to play a major role in the bullpen.
"I really thought by the end of the season that he would be the eighth-inning guy," said Collins, who is bracing for the possibility that Familia could miss the remainder of the season.
Darryl helping out
Darryl Strawberry will represent the Mets at Thursday's first-year player draft. The Mets hold the 11th overall selection, which they put a priority on protecting last winter during talks with free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn.
The Mets also will choose 48th, 76th and 84th overall. The first two rounds of the draft will be held Thursday night with the remaining rounds to be completed Friday.
Wilpon, Mets visit vets
Owner Fred Wilpon joined Mets players and coaches for a visit with veterans at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.