Mets' Niese gets nose job, Beltran gets the bill
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- Last summer, Carlos Beltran offered to foot the bill if then-Mets teammate Jonathan Niese received a nose job.
Now it's time to pay up.
"Carlos and I were joking around about it and he said he wanted me to get a new nose," Niese said Wednesday. "Yeah, he'll pay. I sent him the bill."
The surgery, performed last October, didn't straighten the 25-year-old pitcher's crooked nose much, but that wasn't the point. Niese is breathing a lot easier after the procedure corrected a deviated septum.
Teammates gave a collective thumbs-up to the pitcher's new look, which should help in conditioning that's been questioned occasionally. Niese experienced a rapid heartbeat during a start last June.
"He used to get ragged hard about that, his dysfunctional nose," catcher Josh Thole said. "It actually looks pretty good. It should help him a lot in everyday life, too, not just in baseball."
Third baseman David Wright said if Niese believes it helps "functionality," that's good enough for him.
"He actually looks like he's in pretty good shape," Wright said. "So maybe that had something to do with it."
Prior to the Mets' first workout for pitchers and catchers, Niese said that he'd been having trouble breathing through the right nostril for some time. The surgeon told Niese the nose was broken, although the pitcher didn't remember when that could have happened.
"It looks a little different, if you look at the before and afters, but it doesn't really change my appearance," Niese said. "When I run, that's when I notice it. After I run, I've always breathed heavily but that hasn't been the case lately."
The left-hander was an 11-game winner last year in his second full season in the rotation. He said he and Beltran were joking around last summer when Beltran brought up surgery and offered to pay.
The bill for an amount Niese declined to specify, but will not make a dent in Beltran's bank account, is in the mail.
Beltran was traded to the Giants at the deadline and signed a two-year, $26 million free agent deal in the offseason with St. Louis. The Cardinals are training in Jupiter, Fla., about a 40-minute interstate drive south of the Mets' complex.
The only negative in the Niese equation?
"Why would we ruin a joke we've had for so long," Thole asked.
Notes: First baseman Ike Davis was on his way back to camp after flying to New York Wednesday to see team doctors for an unspecified problem related to his physical exam. Team spokesman Jay Horwitz said Davis was fine and was expected back Thursday. ... Rookie SS Ruben Tejada, who will take over for departed Jose Reyes, is expected to arrive Saturday after clearing up a Visa issue in Panama. Manager Terry Collins was disappointed Tejada didn't show up early to start developing chemistry with 2B Daniel Murphy. "I am a little surprised," Collins said. "A lot of it's just selfishness on my part. I know Ruben will come in in great shape and I know he'll be ready to go, I just wish he was here." ... Collins said LHP Johan Santana had no health issues after Tuesday's 30-pitch bullpen session.
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