Torres injury opens door for Kirk Nieuwenhuis

The New York Mets came out of their opening day battle against the Atlanta Braves with a victory, but also without a healthy centerfielder.  Andres Torres, who was acquired this offseason in the deal that sent Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants, tweaked a calf injury that had plagued him throughout Spring Training and will be forced to the DL.


Andres Torres confirms he’s headed to DL. Will travel to Port St. Lucie tomorrow.
@AdamRubinESPN
Adam Rubin

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post:

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Torres got hurt while pursuing Tyler Pastornicky’s liner in the seventh inning, a ball he misplayed into a triple. Torres appeared to break in on the ball, then had it sail over his head. He strained the calf while running.

Jason Bay had a feeling Torres was hurt.

“Andres is kind of the Energizer bunny,” Bay said. “When I saw him stop, I figured that’s not something he would do.”

So now what do the Mets do? Manager Terry Collins said Ruben Tejada will hit leadoff.”

Filling the leadoff spot is one thing, but filling that big patch of grass between Jason Bay and Lucas Duda is another.  Late in the Spring, when questions about Torres’ health persisted, it was believed that Matt den Dekker might be the next man in lineAdam Rubin of ESPN New York, however, reported yesterday that Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be the Mets choice to replace Torres in center when the team gets back to action this Saturday against Jair Jurrjens and the Atlanta Braves (click here to read in full).

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Andres Torres’ trip to the disabled list is expected to result in Kirk Nieuwenhuis making his major league debut this weekend, a team source told ESPNNewYork.com.

The lefty-hitting, righty-throwing center fielder had been held back in Port St. Lucie last weekend as his teammates left for Triple-A Buffalo in case Torres wasn’t ready for Opening Day. He eventually was cleared to join the Bisons, and played center field on Thursday night at Pawtucket, but now appears headed for Citi Field.”

I’m excited for the arrival of Nieuwenhuis, though much like Jeff Francoeur, I don’t look forward to wondering whether or not I spelled his name correctly every single time I write it.  Last season, while playing center field for the New York Mets Triple-A Buffalo affiliate, the 24-year-old recorded professional career highs in batting average (.294), on-base percentage (.403), and OPS (.908).

Poised for a call-up to the majors, an injury to his left shoulder in late May led to a DL stint in early June and eventually cost the youngster the rest of the season.   A year later, it appears Nieuwenhuis will get a new opportunity and what he does with it could have a major impact on how the Mets shape their outfield the rest of the season.  Just the other day Mike Puma mentioned the lefty as a potential platoon partner for Jason Bay in left field.  A strong showing while Torres is on the DL and more o-fers from Jason Bay (yes he was 0-3 in the opener) and that scenario might just become a reality.  Here’s to hoping Kirk makes Terry Collin’s decision a tough one by exceeding expectations in his fist trip around the bigs.

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