Posted March 31, 2013 on AP on Fox
Two main attractions will be missing when the New York Mets host San Diego in their season opener Monday. Chase Headley, the biggest bat on the Padres and last season's NL RBI leader, is sidelined for a few weeks with a broken thumb. Johan Santana's future is far more precarious. After re-tearing the anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, the one-time Mets ace is scheduled for another surgery Tuesday that he hopes can save his career. So the opening day assignment goes to Jonathon Niese, suddenly thrust into the role of No. 1 starter for a team that traded Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey during the offseason. ''It's Jon Niese's turn. He's now that guy,'' manager Terry Collins said Sunday at Citi Field. Born on the day the Mets won the 1986 World Series, Niese established career bests across the board last season when he went 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA in 190 1-3 innings. The fast-working lefty will face a Padres lineup also minus promising young catcher Yasmani Grandal, suspended for the first 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. Left fielder Carlos Quentin should be ready to go, though, after he was slowed this spring with discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee. Top prospect Jedd Gyorko takes over at second base. Niese said this spring he won't try to ''fill anyone's shoes.'' But he acknowledged Sunday that he'll probably be a little anxious on opening day. New York announced the decision to go with Niese on March 21 - the same day David Wright was appointed team captain - after Santana stalled at spring training. ''It's kind of sunk in now,'' Niese said. ''I'm not going to treat it as an opening day. I'm going to treat it as a midseason start. I'm going to prepare the same and just be ready for it. I don't think we really have an ace on this staff. I think everybody contributes equally.'' Pitching for the Padres will be Edinson Volquez, set to make his third consecutive opening day start. He got the ball last year for San Diego and in 2011 with Cincinnati. Solid arms for sure, but this matchup of fourth-place teams that held their money tight last winter probably won't make many national headlines on a day when the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez are on the mound. Not to mention across town, the Yankees will be hosting the rival Boston Red Sox at the exact same time. ''I love Eddie out there, especially that first game with his stuff. You know he might throw a few pitches but he's going to get outs. He's nasty,'' Padres outfielder Will Venable said. Volquez, an All-Star with the Reds in 2008, has a tendency to be wild. But he played a pivotal role for the Dominican Republic team that won the World Baseball Classic this spring. The right-hander was 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA last season after he and Grandal were part of the four-player package Cincinnati sent to San Diego for pitcher Mat Latos in December 2011. ''Edinson Volquez is very capable of throwing a hell of a game,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ''I think our guys are physically and mentally ready to do it. They're in a good frame of mind.'' Of course, the Mets are optimistic at this stage as well. Nearly the entire squad showed up for a voluntary workout Sunday to prepare for the opener. Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy are expected to play after both were sidelined by ribcage injuries until just a few days ago. ''I feel good physically,'' said Wright, who was on a hitting tear for Team USA when he got hurt at the WBC. ''It would have been nice to have maybe a few more at-bats toward the end, but I didn't have that luxury.'' Collins addressed his team Saturday night, marking the end of a long spring training. ''It's time to get after it. It's time to start putting together all the things that we worked on,'' he said. ''I told the guys yesterday, `If you've ever wanted to be on the biggest stage, this is it.' There's nothing like opening day in New York.'' NOTES: Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez watched closely as backup infielder Justin Turner (calf) ran the bases at Citi Field. Turner was deemed healthy enough to remain on the roster, and the Mets made their final cut by optioning 3B-1B Zach Lutz to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Rusty Staub, a member of the Mets' Hall of Fame, will throw out the first pitch Monday as the club celebrates the 40th anniversary of its 1973 pennant. ... The Mets will honor hundreds of Hurricane Sandy responders and volunteers in a ceremony on the field before the 1:10 p.m. game. The team donated 1,000 opening day tickets to storm responders and those affected by the destruction. ... Days before the opener, the Mets were offering free seats to games later in the week to fans buying opening day tickets. ... Despite losing their first eight openers, the Mets are 33-18 on opening day - the best mark in baseball. --- AP freelance writers Laurel Pfahler in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Tim Price in San Antonio contributed to this report.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
WHATEVER WORKS

Niese's wife has strange superstition

Mets pitcher Jon Niese's wife will be wearing her lucky article of clothing during his start on Opening Day. Hint: it's below her waist.

Wife of Mets pitcher Niese has superstitious underwear

If the New York Mets are going to have any chance in the NL East this season they will need a look of good luck. Count the wife of Mets pitcher Jon Niese in the pile of fans with lucky charms. “I’m the superstitious one,” said Leah in a recent profile by The New York Post. “I have lucky underwear — they’re Mets underwear.” The couple got married in January after more...

MMO Live Blog: Mets Up 7-2 Heading Into The Seventh, Niese Still Going

LIVE BLOGGING FROM CITI FIELD 6th Inning After a scoreless fifth, Niese got touched up for a home run in the top of the sixth. No harm no foul. He talked Collins into staying in and pitch the seventh inning. 12 of his 19 outs were all groundouts. Mets 7, Padres 2 4th Inning Cowgill hustles for a double and moves Niese to third. Then the Birthday Boy, Daniel Murphy, drives Niese home...

Niese Aces It; Offense Rocks In Mets’ Opening Day Rout

How appropriate. It was overcast for much of the day, but shortly after this afternoon’s 11-2 rout of the San Diego Padres, it started to rain on Citi Field. If there could be universal laws in baseball, is it isn’t supposed to rain on Opening Day and the home team has to win. Let the Padres win Wednesday night and when they return to San Diego, but today belonged to the Mets...

Post Game: Niese Sparkles; Offense Rocks In Mets’ Opening Day Rout

How appropriate. It was overcast for much of the day, but shortly after this afternoon’s 11-2 rout of the San Diego Padres, it started to rain on Citi Field. If there could be universal laws in baseball, is it isn’t supposed to rain on Opening Day and the home team has to win. Let the Padres win Wednesday night and when they return to San Diego, but today belonged to the Mets...

Mets Game Chatter – Opening Day

The 2013 Mets season gets underway at 1:00 PM with Jonathon Niese going up against the Padres and Edinson Volquez. Come join us in the chat room and kick off the 2013 season right! To get started just enter your email address and desired username: Name E-mail Related Posts:Mets Game Chatter – 8/1/12Mets Game Chatter – 8/12/12Mets Game Chatter – 8/7/12Mets Game Chatter ...

Main attractions missing from Padres-Mets opener

Two main attractions will be missing when the New York Mets host San Diego in their season opener Monday. Chase Headley, the biggest bat on the Padres and last season's NL RBI leader, is sidelined for a few weeks with a broken thumb. Johan Santana's future is far more precarious. After re-tearing the anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder, the one-time Mets ace is scheduled...

Cueto, Weaver risky starts in Week 1

Start 'Em Jon Niese (SD, MIA) Niese quietly assembled a sound 2012 campaign in his third full season in the Bigs, with a 3.40 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in over 190 innings. Don't be concerned with his 3.74 ERA at home, as Niese's 1.12 WHIP illustrates the 26-year-old was better than believed in Flushing Meadows. Though Niese's .272 BABIP gives pause on his ability to...

Mets’ Spring Training Booms And Busts

It is the same in every spring training camp with winners and losers. Booms and busts. With camp ending today, the Mets had their share of both. THE WINNERS Jon Niese: With Johan Santana a question going in, Niese entered camp No. 1 in the rotation and pitched deserving of that title. Not surprisingly, he was named Opening Day starter. With Santana gone for the year, he’s the de...

MMO Live Blog: Birthday Boy Daniel Murphy Gets In On The Action, Mets Up 7-1

LIVE BLOGGING FROM CITI FIELD 4th Inning Cowgill hustles for a double and moves Niese to third. Then the Birthday Boy, Daniel Murphy, drives Niese home with a single to make it 5-1 Mets. Wright picks up an RBI on a groundout to score Cowgill. Byrd drives hom Murphy with a two-our TBI and the Mets are blowing this game wide open! Niese is having a solid start… Mets 7, Padres 1 3rd...

MMO Live Blog: Cowgill’s Slam Puts Mets Up 11-2, Mercy Rule Time!

LIVE BLOGGING FROM CITI FIELD 8th Inning Mets have 11 runs on the board with no dancing, no fancy high fives, no curtain calls, and no showboating. This is good to see. #LGM — Mets Merized Online (@MetsMerized) April 1, 2013   7th Inning Jon Niese’s first Opening Day start is over: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, HR. 101 pitches, 62 strikes. Brandon Lyon in. Cowgill just hit...

MMO Live Blog: Mets Jump Out In Front 2-0 After Two, Woot, Woot!

LIVE BLOGGING FROM CITI FIELD 1:55 PM Update Ruben Tejada doubles home John Buck who chugs home to score the first run of the game. Deep breaths, John. Slugger Jon Niese singles Tejada home for the Mets second run and the Mets are on top 2-0 after two innings. I told you we had this! Keith Hernandez is not loving the sea of orange t-shirts in right-center and calls them a distraction...

MMO Live Blog: No Score After One, But Don’t Worry, We Got This!

LIVE BLOGGING FROM CITI FIELD 1:30 PM Update It’s scoreless after one, Wright got onon an error, but it could have easily been a hit. Who’s scoring this game, Alex68? Niese throws first pitch of the season. Single to left. Winter is officially over. newyorkmetsreport.com @metsmerized — John Delcos (@jdelcos) April 1, 2013   1:15 PM Update First Responders from Hurricane Sandy...

Five things to watch for on Mets’ Opening Day

With the Mets about to break camp and head up north, Opening Day is now just two days away. With it comes hope for a new beginning. After years of disappointment, we can all push the reset button and hope for a better outcome with each Opening Day. For a team that relishes playing on Opening Day (going 32-18 in openers), the Mets will head out there on Monday afternoon with youthful...

#MetsTwitter Recaps Opening Day

Its a beautiful day at Citi Field. #SNYMets twitter.com/metsblog/statu… — MetsBlog.com (@metsblog) April 1, 2013 twitter.com/metspolice/sta… — metspolice (@metspolice) April 1, 2013 Good news: #mets specialty drinks are still $11. So we can still get drunk on 2012 prices — The Coop (@Coopz22) April 1, 2013 not buying that optimism is dead — Jon Presser (@metsjetsnets88...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.