Major League Baseball
Mets-Diamondbacks preview
Major League Baseball

Mets-Diamondbacks preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 6:08 p.m. ET

PHOENIX -- Jonathon Niese, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline, will make his first start for the Mets this season and first start overall since July 10. Niese (8-6, 5.20 ERA) spent the first eight years of his career in New York, posting a 61-61 record before he was traded to Pittsburgh for Neil Walker.

Niese has been working through some discomfort in his left knee since having his knee drained back in Pittsburgh but Mets manager Terry Collins said the move to the rotation might help.

"We just think that if we start him he won't have to deal with the wear-and-tear of getting up and down," Collins said Saturday when announcing Niese's return to the rotation, "In between starts that knee will have a chance to recover."

Niese is taking the turn previously held down by Logan Verrett, who was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas after consecutive rough outings.


Similarly, Arizona starter Zach Godley is returning to the Diamondbacks rotation to take the place of struggling left-hander Patrick Corbin.

Godley (3-2, 5.24) made five starts in July and August before moving to the bullpen. During his last three relief outings, he has held hitters to a .174 average (4 for 23) and struck out four.

"We don't want them to take their lumps to the point where we're out of a game," Arizona manager Chip Hale said of his young staff. "But you have to let them learn and try to make adjustments."

The Mets offense made an appearance Tuesday night, knocking out 12 hits, including a pair of home runs and six extra-base hits as New York split the first two games of their current seven-game road trip.

"Every time I look up they (the Diamondbacks) hit a double," Collins said. "It's nice that we hit some doubles for a change. The offense came around tonight."

T.J. Rivera, who earned the start when Neil Walker was scratched with back tightness, went 4-for-4 to double his career hit total.

"One of the things they told me is he barrels the ball," Collins said. "He gets the barrel on it."

The Diamondbacks got an immediate boost from outfielder Mitch Haniger, who doubled, tripled and drove in three runs in his major league debut Tuesday. Haniger steps into an outfield that has struggled both with injuries and ineffectiveness outside the 23 home runs of Yasmany Tomas.

"Every swing he took was right on it," Hale said of Haniger, who has 24 homers in 119 games at Double- and Triple-A this season. "He was just exactly as advertised by (Triple-A Reno manager) Phil Nevin and everybody in the minor leagues. He really knows how to play the game. I'm excited to see him play."

Arizona also has flourished on the bases against the Mets. The Diamondbacks stole four bases on Tuesday and have 19 steals against New York this season, one shy of matching the franchise record for most stolen bases against an opponent in a single season.


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