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Mets' Jon Niese blames himself for shoulder ailment

Jonathon Niese of the New York Mets poses

Jonathon Niese of the New York Mets poses for a portrait during Spring Training photo day at Tradition Field on February 26, 2014 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Getty

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Mets lefthander Jonathon Niese blames himself for a shoulder issue that could force him from his planned start on Opening Day.

One day after an MRI exam revealed no structural damage, Niese said he has been experiencing a pinching sensation in his shoulder, stemming from weakness in his scapular muscle.

"I kind of blame that on myself," said Niese, who missed nearly two months last season with a partially torn rotator cuff. "Last year, with it being the rotator cuff, this offseason that's pretty much all I was working on. I kind of neglected the other things, so everything was kind of at an imbalance."

Niese, 27, is expected to begin tossing a baseball Saturday, though no date has been set for when he can return to the mound. His immediate focus will be on strengthening the muscle in the back of his shoulder.

"I'm looking forward to getting it strong, because I know my rotator cuff is strong," Niese said. "They did a bunch of tests on that."

He expects to get his pitch count high enough to begin the season with no issues.

"My scap muscles are a little weak and I'm going to work them out a little bit," said Niese, who was 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA last season. "It should work itself out."

Extra bases

Closer Bobby Parnell said he will throw his first live batting practice session Saturday. The righthander is bouncing back from neck surgery, though he recently was slowed by quadriceps tightness . . . Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom pitched two perfect innings each in the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Nationals . . . David Wright won the Face of MLB competition Friday. The Mets will give away T-shirts featuring Wright while offering a $5 ticket special April 4 against the Reds.

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