The Mets have not yet learned the severity of Jonathon Niese's elbow injury. And they have not yet shared their plan with Niese, so the information is sensitive. But even if Niese's elbow issue ends up being minimal, the southpaw is expected to open the season on the disabled list, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com.

The Mets do not need a fifth starter until April 6, against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. And that would be the day Niese would be eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

Placing Niese on the DL would allow the Mets to carry an extra bench player or, less likely, an extra relief pitcher for the first five games of the season. DL trips can be backdated nine days into spring training.