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Mets hope Niese's season isn't over

Jonathon Niese stands on the mound after giving

Jonathon Niese stands on the mound after giving up a run during the first inning. (Aug. 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA -- The expectation is that Jonathon Niese will return to pitch for the Mets again this season after he was placed on the disabled list before Wednesday's game with a strained right intercostal muscle.

Of course, there are no guarantees, and if history has taught us anything about Mets' injuries, it might be safer to assume that Niese has thrown his last pitch this season. As the Mets headed outside for batting practice, Niese, in street clothes, was packing his bag to catch an early train to New York for a doctor's appointment.

"The last time, maybe it hadn't healed all the way," Niese said. "I'm thinking maybe two to three weeks, but I don't know."

Niese was injured during his Aug. 16 start in San Diego, while swinging a bat, but was cleared to make his next start against the Phillies -- with an extra day of rest. But Niese aggravated the strain in the third inning Tuesday night and was removed in the fifth.

Terry Collins was asked about the decision to start Niese, despite the pre-existing condition. "I just knew that once the game started, and the adrenaline was flowing, and the workload would change a little bit, that perhaps there might be an issue there," Collins said. "I asked him during the game, and he said he was fine. But I'm not surprised that he came up stiff."

Scott Hairston was diagnosed with a left oblique strain -- Tuesday's X-rays were negative -- but won't be put on the DL until the team gets the results of an MRI late Wednesday.

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