NEW YORK (AP)—Jonathon Niese(notes) wound up doing the splits while trying to cover first base, went to the mound to throw a practice pitch and collapsed in pain from a season-ending hamstring tear. Another game, another injury for the New York Mets.
Nelson Figueroa(notes) came in and shut down St. Louis for 4 1-3 innings, boosting the offense with a two-run triple in a 9-0 victory Wednesday over the Cardinals. By the end of the game, Niese was at a hospital.
“An MRI this afternoon revealed a complete tear of the right upper hamstring tendon from the bone,” the Mets said in a statement. “He will undergo surgery for its repair. Niese is out for the remainder of the season and is expected to be ready for spring training.”
Second baseman Luis Castillo(notes) missed the game, a day after spraining his left ankle when he slipped and fell in the dugout. Left fielder Gary Sheffield(notes), just off the disabled list last weekend, aggravated a hamstring injury while running after a sixth-inning single and came out of the game. He didn’t think it was serious.
More troubling was the latest update on shortstop Jose Reyes, who hasn’t played since May 20.
“The MRI showed significant scar tissue and inflammation behind the right knee, related to the hamstring tendon injury, which has caused continued pain,” the Mets said.
Niese entered the rotation less than two weeks ago because of an injury to Fernando Nieve(notes). He was hurt in the second inning taking the return throw from second on Joe Thurston’s(notes) grounder.
Then he threw a warmup pitch, grimaced, fell and grabbed the leg. Niese was assisted off the field by two trainers.
“Early on, he was just in a world of pain,” Figueroa said.
Brooklyn-born Figueroa (1-2) made a spot start against Arizona on Monday, lasted just 1 2-3 innings and allowed six runs and 10 hits. He wondered whether he’d be sent back to the minors but was kept for long relief. He gave up four hits, struck out five and walked none in his first major league win since Sept. 1 at Milwaukee.
“I feel like I made up for the last time I was out there,” said Figueroa, who shortened his stride. “I walked into the game to boos and they turned to cheers very quickly.”
Cardinals reliever Brad Thompson(notes) threw a pitch near the head of Wright in the sixth, prompting plate umpire Bill Miller to warn both dugouts. An inning earlier, Figueroa loaded the bases when he hit Cardinals star Albert Pujols(notes) near the right elbow.
“You understand it’s part of the game but, you know, you do it the right way,” Wright said. “You hit a guy in the butt, you hit a guy in the back.”
Thompson maintained it wasn’t intentional.
“I certainly wasn’t throwing at him, just trying to back him off the plate,” he said.
Figueroa said much the same about the pitch to Pujols, who wouldn’t guess intent.
“I just think they were just getting the ball in,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who understood why the warning was issued. “You can’t get the ball up that high. Pitching inside, that’s part of the game, but that ball was up around his head.”
“You start throwing at a guy’s head, you mess his career up,” he said. “I thought that was pretty bush.”
Cardinals center fielder Rick Ankiel(notes) helped the Mets by allowing balls from consecutive batters to go off his glove in the three-run second. The first, on a difficult drive by Figueroa over the drawn-in Ankiel, was ruled a triple. Ankiel had to come in for the second, scored a sacrifice fly for Pagan plus an error.
Ankiel left during the bottom of the fourth.
“He was a little dehydrated,” La Russa said.
Lohse (4-7) dropped to 1-7 with a 5.56 ERA in his last 11 starts, allowing five runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings. The Cardinals have lost all but one of those outings.
“The ball kept coming up,” Lohse said.
Francoeur slid into him covering the plate in the second.
“He got me in the jaw pretty good,” he said. “I was a little fuzzy there for a minute.”
NOTES: Pujols doubled his first two times up, giving him hits in six straight official at-bats—the last five for extra bases—following an 0-for-13 slide. He grounded out in the eighth.