Last winter, New York Mets starter Jon Niese underwent surgery to correct his deviated septum, in hopes his breathing easier would help improve his game stamina. This winter the doctors will be tuning up his heart.
Niese was forced to leave two starts early during the 2012 campaign, suffering in each instance from a rapid heartbeat. Diagnosed as an arrhythmia, the lefty from Lima, Ohio will undergo a procedure known as ablation this month, according to ESPN.com. The surgery is considered minor, and is not expected to impact his winter preparation, nor delay his readiness for spring training.
The surgery, as described by the Mayo Clinic website, is done by using catheters, long flexible tubes, which are inserted into an artery in the groin and threaded to the heart. Tissue in the heart is then destroyed, thus allowing the scar tissue to block the electrical signal that is setting off the irregular heartbeat. By using the less invasive catheters, rather than open-heart surgery, recovery time is greatly reduced.
Niese compiled a 13-9 record for the fourth-place Mets in 2012, hurling a career high 190 innings. He claimed that after his rhinoplasty ("nose-job") last off-season, suggested by and paid for by ex-teammate Carlos Beltran, his breathing improved to the point that his running and work-outs were enhanced as well. His pitching performance suggests there may have been more than cosmetic benefits, as Jonathans' ERA dropped a full run per 9 innings from 2011 while he put together his first winning season.
With Johan Santana again hoping to return from downtime (though no surgery this winter), and R.A. Dickey still being shopped around, the Mets are counting on Niese to be a mainstay of the 2013 rotation.
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