SAN FRANCISCO -- Mets starter Jon Niese was told he could begin a throwing program by team doctors after a favorable follow-up exam Monday in New York.
Niese has been sidelined with a partial left rotator cuff tear since he left a June 20 start with discomfort. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Monday's MRI led to the decision to allow Niese to begin throwing.
"Basically the new MRI showed the inflammation was gone, the fluid was out of the shoulder," Ricco said. "The way the doctor termed it, he has 'normal wear and tear' on the shoulder, but it looks pretty good."
Ricco said Niese traveled to Port St. Lucie, Fla., the site of the team's Spring Training complex and home of the Class A affiliate, to begin throwing. He added that there is no timetable for Niese's return to the club or when he could begin throwing off a mound, but he did say the club expects Niese back sometime this season.
In 14 starts this season, Niese is 3-6 with a 4.32 ERA and is part of a rotation hampered by injuries, with Johan Santana out for the season and Shaun Marcum currently experiencing numbness in his right hand.
"I had all the confidence that Jon Niese would pitch again this summer," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I talked to him the other day and he felt great and was just waiting for the MRI, but he felt good enough to say, 'I'll be back soon.'
"It was good news today to hear that we're ready to move forward. That's good news for us."
Mets awaiting diagnosis on Marcum after exam
SAN FRANCISCO -- Shaun Marcum was examined by Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis on Monday after the Mets starter felt tingling and numbness in his right hand the past two starts.
With the injury and Marcum's struggles -- he's 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) this season -- the 31-year-old's final start before the All-Star break is likely to be skipped, especially with an off-day Thursday.
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said the club expects to have more information and a full diagnosis Tuesday. Until then, the team will not make a decision on any potential roster moves.
"With Shaun, we don't know what's going on, so we're going to get somebody just in case," Ricco said.
According to the Mets' official Twitter account, that somebody is right-hander Gonzalez Germen, who was headed to San Francisco on Monday. Germen is 3-3 with a 5.52 ERA in 35 relief appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas.
"Dr. Thompson is one of the top guys in the country," Ricco said. "We were in Milwaukee, so it was close. It is close to Shaun's home, so it was something he was comfortable with, so we decided to go that route."
Harvey's next start in question with ASG looming
SAN FRANCISCO -- Prior to Matt Harvey's start against the Giants on Monday, Mets manager Terry Collins presented the possibility that Harvey would not pitch in the All-Star Game if he threw 115 or more pitches in his scheduled start Saturday.
After Harvey's 121-pitching outing in San Francisco, the manager discussed a different plan, making it all but certain that the 24-year-old right-hander will be available for the July 16 All-Star Game. Harvey might be skipped in the rotation Saturday at Pittsburgh or, if he does start, will make an abbreviated outing.
"Whatever they decide is their call," Harvey said. "I'm going to prepare like I have a start and whatever they tell me is the way it goes."
Collins revealed after the game that Harvey has been battling a blister on his right index finger the past three starts, an issue that Collins said is not a factor in his plan for Harvey's start Saturday.
"He has a small blister that we've kept quiet, and he hasn't been throwing much between outings," Collins said.
Although Harvey admitted that the blister has affected his ability to feel pitches, he downplayed the notion that it has inhibited his performance.
"It's no excuse for my poor pitching," said Harvey, who has now registered a quality start in six of seven outings and 16 of 19 starts this season.
In Harvey's start Monday, he allowed three runs in seven innings against Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who is managing the National League squad and will choose the All-Star Game starter. Bochy had said Harvey's start against the Giants -- as well as that of candidate Clayton Kershaw, who allowed one run in eight innings Sunday at AT&T Park -- would not factor into his decision much and that his mind was already mostly made up.
Before the game, Collins, a coach on Bochy's staff for the All-Star Game, was questioned about Harvey's usage in the All-Star Game and if he could envision a disagreement over how his star pitcher will be used.
"Is there going to be a fight between [Bochy] and I?" Collins joked. "No, I don't think so. I'm overmatched. It will be well-thought-out before then."
According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, pitchers who start on the Sunday before an All-Star Game have the option to participate in the game, but for no more than one inning or a preset pitch count worked out by the pitcher and manager beforehand.
"I've got to be honest. I haven't talked to anybody," Collins said. "I haven't talked to MLB, I haven't talked to [Bochy], I haven't talked to [executive vice president of baseball operations] Joe Torre, [senior vice president of scheduling and club relations] Katy Feeney, anybody.
"I don't know where [Harvey] stands, I don't know how many innings David Wright is going to play, I don't know anything. As far as asking about Matt's availability, that will be asked, I'm sure, Saturday night."
When asked who will make the final decision on Harvey's availability for the All-Star Game, Collins replied, "Not me, but I'm sure our organization does."
• Since returning to the Majors on Friday, Ike Davis had reached base safely in seven of his 11 plate appearances entering Monday's game.
• Since May 26, the Mets are second in the Majors with a 3.28 team ERA entering Monday. Overall, they ranked 10th in the National League with a 3.95 mark.
• David Wright entered play Monday with an eight-game hitting streak. The All-Star starting third baseman is hitting .361 since June 5.