Suns report: Niese's arm weary

The Hagerstown Suns have started to curtail pitch counts on 19-year-old left-hander Jonathon Niese, who went just three innings in Wednesday's loss at Lakewood.

Niese, a seventh-round selection of the Mets in last year's draft, is finishing a stellar season at Class-A, his first full professional season.

The former Ohio high school standout is coming up on the 120-inning plateau, falling one out shy through his no-decision performance in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the BlueClaws.

As such, the Mets are beginning to take measures to guard against a tired arm.

In 24 games at Hagerstown this season, Niese is 11-8 with a 3.69 ERA. He has walked 62 and struck out 128, allowing 49 earned runs and 110 hits for a .243 opponent batting average.

In his previous start on Aug. 10, Niese allowed seven runs (five earned) over six innings in a 10-3 drubbing against Greensboro.

The seven runs allowed by Niese tied a season high (July 14 vs. Hickory). Last year, Niese pitched 24 2/3 innings for the Gulf Coast Mets after signing in July, going 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in seven games.

State of the Suns: The struggling Suns enter Thursday's play with a 20-31 record, placing them seventh among the eight clubs in the South Atlantic League Northern division. Hagerstown trails division-leading Lakewood by 15.5 games.

Hagerstown leaderboard - offense: Nick Evans' 15 home runs are tied with Binghamton's Jay Caligiuri for second-most in the system ... Evans' 64 RBI are second to St. Lucie's Mike Carp (74) ... Sean Henry's 27 stolen bases are second to Binghamton's Carlos Gomez (31) ... Jonel Pacheco's 19 stolen bases are fifth.

Hagerstown leaderboard - pitching: Jonathon Niese's 3.69 ERA is 10th in the system ... Niese's 11 victories tie him with Binghamton's Michael Devaney and Norfolk's Evan MacLane for the system lead ... Kevin Tomasiewicz's 15 saves rank third in the system ... Niese's 128 strikeouts are the most of any Mets minor leaguer.

ON THE RISE

Outfielder Sean Henry was promoted to the Suns last week and has hit safely in four of his first six starts at Class-A.

Henry, who turns 21 on Friday, was originally drafted as a shortstop, and after a brief dalliance with second base, has been converted into a speedy outfielder.

A 20th round selection in 2004, Henry had been playing with Rookie-league Kingsport, where he was batting .277 with four homers, 27 RBI and 23 steals in 40 games.

TOUGH TIMES

Infielder Hector Pellot may have suffered a season-ending injury on Aug. 12, attempting to complete a double play in the fourth inning of a 6-5 loss to Greensboro.

Pellot, a fourth round pick in 2005, batted just .189 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 100 games at Hagerstown this year.