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Niese set to return for finale with Diamondbacks
(Sports Network) - Jon Niese returns to the New York Mets' rotation on Sunday afternoon with a chance to pitch his club to a series victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Niese gets the call in the rubber match of a three-game set for the southpaw's first start since June 20. He faced the Braves on that day and logged 3 1/3 innings before exiting due to injury. He was placed on the disabled list the following day with a partially torn left rotator cuff after having gone 3-6 with a 4.32 earned run average through 14 starts.
The 26-year-old was New York's Opening Day starter and is 1-2 in four lifetime meetings with Arizona with a 6.85 ERA.
"I know I'll have to watch him a little bit early, but to have him back is certainly to our advantage to have him in there," Mets manager Terry Collins said on his team's website. "Especially having a left-handed pitcher in the rotation, which we haven't had."
The Diamondbacks will hand the ball today to Zeke Spruill for his second career start.
Spruill, who began his MLB career with four relief outings in late June, faced the Texas Rangers on Aug. 1 and suffered a loss. The 23-year-old righty gave up five runs over his four innings and was touched for three solo homers.
"The pitches that they hit, I feel like they had a good idea that fastballs were coming," Spruill said on Arizona's website. "I've got to mix it up a little bit more."
Now 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA at the big league level, Spruill faces the Mets for the first time.
New York got a gem from Zack Wheeler to win Saturday's meeting 4-1. The rookie logged 6 1/3 innings of work and scattered six hits, one a solo homer to Aaron Hill, without a walk.
"I was just trying to throw strikes and get ahead of guys," Wheeler remarked. "That was the main point tonight."
Wilmer Flores drove in three runs and Juan Lagares hit a solo homer for the Mets, who have won four of their past five games.
LaTroy Hawkins stranded a runner on second in the ninth to notch his third save.
Hill had two hits for the D'backs, who had a three-game win streak snapped and stranded 10 runners in scoring position.
Brandon McCarthy was pegged with the loss after giving up two runs on six hits over seven innings. McCarthy has lost both of his starts since returning from the disabled list on Sunday.
"He gave us seven innings, two runs, and gave us a chance to win the game," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of his starter.
The Mets and D'backs split a four-game set in New York from July 1-4.
08/11 09:33:19 ET
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