By Jerry Del Priore
If you can’t get to a game at CitiField to see the New York Mets this year, you might as well venture over to Bethpage Ballpark, home of th Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, to catch a glisp of their past.
Another former Met has joined the Ducks this season. Today, Long Island has announced they selected the rights to left-handed pitcher Jon Niese at the Atlantic League’s Player Showcase, held this past weekend at the TigerTown complex in Lakeland, Florida.
Niese was one of 11 players who Atlantic League clubs drafted following the Player Showcase, which took place March 29-31.
Niese spent nine seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), including eight full campaigns with New York (2008-15) and one split between the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates (2016).
He amassed a 69-68 record with a 4.07 ERA, three complete games, two shutouts, 1,189.1 innings of work and 914 strikeouts over 211 tilts (197 starts). The 32-year-old Niese also made six relief appearances during the 2015 MLB playoffs, helping New York to a National League championship.
In 2010, the Ohio native was named as one of the five starting pitchers on Baseball America’s Major League All-Rookie Team. New York originally chose Niese in the seventh round of the 2005 amateur draft.
With Niese, the Ducks now have five ex-Mets on their roster: three players (Niese, Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis) and two coaches (Wally Backman and Ed Lynch).
Long Island kicks off the 2019 campaign in Pennsylvania against the York Revolution on Friday, April 26th at 6:30 p.m.