PHOENIX -- Jonathon Niese had arrived early enough for a front-row view of the absurdity that would unfold before him.

It was mid-April in Colorado and the temperature was below freezing when Niese poked his head out of the Mets' dugout. He watched a crew that included the Rockies' team mascot and its principal owner attempt to clear the field of snow.

Little did Niese know at the time just how much the cold weather would derail his season. Now his arm is feeling good for the first time since he pitched in frigid temperatures and wound up on the disabled list with a partially torn rotator cuff.

"I really didn't feel like I had my stuff," Niese said of his season until now, which includes a 3-6 record with a 4.32 ERA in 77 innings. He will start Sunday for the first time since June 20.

Terry Collins said he will be limited to 90 to 95 pitches and added, "It's important for Jon Niese mentally to know that his arm's OK."


advertisement | advertise on newsday

Six-man rotation

The Mets will have a six-man rotation with the addition of Niese. To make room on the roster, they likely will demote a position player, leaving them with a four-man bench. The six-man rotation will help stretch starters Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, who are on innings limits.


Over the lineFor the first time this season, Ike Davis' batting average is above the Mendoza Line. He went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks Saturday night to raise his average to .203.

"It's good to see,'' he said. "Just being under the Mendoza Line isn't the best thing in the world. But I'm hitting better as of late and getting on base a lot. It is nice to see the .200 on the board. I haven't been there all year. Hopefully, I can keep climbing.''