The Sports Xchange

Mets' Niese hit by liner on mound

NEW YORK -- A 10-game homestand for the New York Mets got off to am ominous start Friday night when left-hander Jonathon Niese pitched just one-third of an inning before taking a line drive off his back and leaving the game against the Texas Rangers at Citi Field.

Niese had already given up a leadoff homer to Rangers left fielder Shin-Soo Choo and an infield single to shortstop Elvis Andrus when center fielder Alex Rios lined Niese's 12th pitch off his back. Niese recovered to pick up the ball and throw out Rios at first, but manager Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez immediately ran out of the dugout.

Niese appeared to be pleading to remain in the game and pantomimed a throwing motion a handful of times before he was overruled by Collins and Ramirez. As right-hander Carlos Torres trotted in from the bullpen, an agitated Niese walked into the dugout, where he knocked over the container of gum along the bench.

Torres escaped the jam by retiring third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Chris Gimenez on grounders. Niese was spared a possible loss when the Mets scored three times off right-hander Yu Darvish in the bottom of the first.

The start was the shortest of Niese's career. He lasted 1 2/3 innings against St. Louis on Aug. 5, 2009, when he left after suffering a torn hamstring tendon.

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