Rookie Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis is a Hit with the Mets
BY ROB SHAW
Even the Mets and their medical team had to know before they traded away Angel Pagan that Andres Torres never played as many as 140 games in a season. So, therefore, it should come as no surprise that the outfielder who was hobbled in spring training strained his left calf in the season opener.
Fortunately, for the Mets they not only have an able replacement, but a player who could very well represent the team’s future at the position in Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The 24-year-old nabbed in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft had some of his own injuries in recent years, but he is a big guy with some pop and speed.
This may be a Wally Pipp situation where Torres will never really replace Nieuwenhuis. This has been a special season so far for the Mets as they have managed to rebuild while still competing in a very tough division… Alas, it is still very early.
Another option for the Mets would be to shift Nieuwenhuis to left field and split time with Jason Bay. It’s a sad realization for the Mets to realize that Jason Bay does not warrant a starting position, but at this point Andres Torres and Nieuwenhuis could be more valuable.
Nieuwenhuis enters the weekend series with the Giants with a .375 average thanks to a six game hit streak. He boasts six runs scored and has a home run and a stolen base. He is a shocking early contender for the NL Rookie of the Year.
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