The Rangers have released left-handed pitcher Jonathon Niese, per the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant. Niese had been dealing with an injury to his subscapularis muscle (the muscle that leads to abduction of the arm at the shoulder joint) this spring, and he never pitched in a Cactus League game for the Rangers.
Niese, 31, figured to be on the outside looking in as far as the Rangers’ rotation battle was concerned this spring, as Bartolo Colon and Jesse Chavez were ahead of him on the depth chart even if Texas would have suffered a rotation injury or started the year with a six-man rotation (which they still haven’t totally ruled out). The concerns surrounding his injury obviously were significant enough for the Rangers to get rid of him without ever seeing him in a spring game.
Niese didn’t make a regular-season appearance at any level last year. He attended Yankees spring training as a non-roster invitee but didn’t make New York’s Opening Day roster after flashing mid-80s fastball velocity in Grapefruit League games. He stuck around for extended spring training but didn’t appear in any minor-league games, and the Yankees released him in early June.
Over nine big-league seasons — nearly all of which have been spent with the Mets, save for 23 appearances with the Pirates to begin 2016 — Niese has posted a 4.07 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP with 914 strikeouts and 367 walks over 1,189.1 innings. He’s mainly been a starter but has also made 14 career relief appearances, nine of which came in 2016.