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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:19 PM ET, 03/27/2012

Mets pitcher Jon Niese has a new nose; Carlos Beltran finally pays up

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran spent much of last season poking fun at then-teammate Jon Niese’s nose.


Looking good, Niese! (Jeff Roberson - AP)
As any good teammate — with a multi-million dollar contract — would do, Beltran offered to pay for Niese to get a new one.

So this offseason, Niese did. He showed up to spring training sporting the new schnoz — which it turns out he paid for himself.

“Beltran wanted me to have a new nose,” Niese told reporters two weeks ago when his New York Mets hosted the Cardinals in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “So he offered to pay for it. I was like, ‘All right.’ Then it turned into seeing doctors and to getting it fixed.”

In the opposite locker room, Beltran had some fun of his own, spotting a $5 bill on the floor of the clubhouse and said, “Give it to Niese. He needs it.”

“How’s his nose look?” Beltran asked reporters, who replied it was a little bit better. “A little bit? So should I pay? Should I not?”

This week, Beltran finally made good on his pledge, reimbursing Niese for the $10,000 he shelled out for the procedure, as ESPN reported.

And while the surgery means Beltran no longer has to look at what was once a down-turned nose on his ex-teammate’s face, the new nose hasn’t only served a cosmetic purpose for its owner. In fact, Niese said his rhinoplasty actually helped his breathing and conditioning.

“It’s helped a lot with my running, it helps with my working out,” Niese said. “As far as the mound, I’m not sure.”

Niese — who earned $452,000 last season — made 26 starts for the Mets last season, posting an 11-11 record with a 4.40 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He’ll begin the season in the middle of a New York rotation looking to rebound after finishing 13th in the National League in ERA (4.19) and batting average (.265) against last season.

By  |  01:19 PM ET, 03/27/2012

 
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