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Mets will give Jonathon Niese a shot in their rotation

Logan Verrett didn’t work out, leaving the door open for a familiar face.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

There’s an old saying in the Mets clubhouse; “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it is broke, maybe Jonathon Niese can help?”

It’s not a great mantra to have chiseled over your locker room entryway, but nevertheless, the Mets are employing it. The 29-year-old will be marched out of the bullpen and onto the mound to make a start against the Diamondbacks tonight at Chase Field—his first such appearance since September 21 of last season.

This development can be traced back to early July, when the Mets had to put Matt Harvey on the disabled list so he could undergo shoulder surgery. He was recently spotted in the Mets dugout, allowing his superhuman healing abilities to do their thing, but in the mean time, his starts when to young Logan Verrett.

Verrett has thrown the most innings of his career already this season, 85.2 in 12 starts. The 26-year-old right-hander was positively torched in his last three games (17 H, 17 ER, 8 BB, and 4 HR), his most recent appearance against the Padres not even lasting three innings but still seeing him surrender four home runs and the Mets fall below .500. It’s not working.

The Mets decided they’d had enough. Verrett and his 7.18 ERA since the exit of Harvey have been assigned to Triple A Las Vegas (though Verrett’s agent claims he should be on the big league disabled list, instead, with a neck issue), giving Niese his latest opportunity. With the Mets since 2008, except for a brief vacation to Pittsburgh at the start of this season, ESPN recently forced Niese to re-live what was clearly a stressful, trying time as he struggled in 2015 with the Pirates.

"It was a horrible feeling being bumped from the rotation, but I feel like I'm in a good spot now," said Niese, reflecting on his Pirates performance. "I'm definitely a lot more comfortable in the rotation -- being able to get a set routine in between pitching. I think it will progressively get better from here."

Niese has 6 IP for New York this year, spread out over four appearances. In that time, he has allowed 8 H and 7 ER. He most recently came in to relieve Noah Syndergaard on August 11 and gave up six runs in one inning in what would become a 9-0 loss at Citi Field.

This will be what it’s going to be, I suppose; through eight career starts against the Diamondbacks, Niese has a 6.94 ERA and a 6.35 ERA at Chase Field. In the mean time, Harvey and the rest of the Mets’ talented but indisposed rotation will be trying to heal as fast as they can.