Mets summon Nieuwenhuis to bolster bench
SAN FRANCISCO -- One week, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was in the Mets' clubhouse, sitting alongside old teammates in the only organization he has ever known. The next, he looked up to see Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and the Angels strolling around unfamiliar environs. Now he's back with the Mets, summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday to improve a struggling bench.
"It was kind of like a weird dream," Nieuwenhuis said upon arriving at AT&T Park, four weeks removed from his last game with the Angels. The Mets optioned fellow outfielder Darrell Ceciliani to Las Vegas to make room for him on the roster.
Nieuwenhuis' weird dream began May 19, when the Mets designated him for assignment after nearly seven years in their organization. He was 3-for-38 at the time; the Mets wanted a change. That ultimately resulted in a trade to the Angels, who briefly used Nieuwenhuis as their starting left fielder. But Nieuwenhuis struggled there, too, prompting the Angels to designate him and the Mets to claim him back off waivers.
And so his dream continued to Las Vegas, where Nieuwenhuis caught fire initially, but recorded only two hits in his final 22 at-bats prior to Monday's callup. Still, the Mets consider him a better bench option at this point than Ceciliani, whose 2-for-27 slump dragged his average down to .206.
"He went down and swung the bat kind of like we knew he would after getting some consistent at-bats," manager Terry Collins said of Nieuwenhuis, who started Monday against the Giants. "Hopefully, he can give us some offense."