Kirk Niewuenhuis was supposed to be playing center field for the Mets against the Phillies in last night’s series opener, but he was scratched from the starting lineup with a right hand contusion, suffered during batting practice. There hasn’t been many details released, but it looks as if a DL stint could be possible. Meanwhile, Jason Bay continues to stay positive about his current rehab from his June 15th concussion, looking to come back to the lineup shortly after the All-Star break.
Now that he wasn’t in the starting lineup last night, the struggling Captain Kirk hasn’t been in the starting lineup since Saturday in Los Angeles, and with three straight southpaws slated to start against the Mets the rest of the week (Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Travis Wood), it seems unlikely that he would be in the lineup anyways in the coming days. If Nieuwenhuis does head to the disabled list, this would actually be the best time for it, as he would only miss eight more games thanks to the All-Star break. This could be a good move for the Mets, giving Captain Kirk a nice break in the middle of his biggest slump this season.
If he does get put on the shelf for the rest of the first half, it appears that Jordany Valdespin (.222/.246/.429) will be getting the call to return to the squad. He’s continued to tear up the Triple-A competition since he was optioned back to Buffalo; he stole four bags on Monday night, and followed that performance up with a long ball and two RBI the next night. With Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy tearing the cover off the ball, it looks as though Valdespin will be splitting time with Scott Hairston in the outfield.
Jason Bay continues to rehab from his June 15th concussion, and despite not having a clear timetable for a return at first, he hasn’t experienced any recurring symptoms for over two weeks now, and has been increasing his baseball activity this week at Citi Field. If all goes well and he doesn’t experience any setbacks once he heads to Florida to begin a rehab assignment, Bay could be rejoining the Mets shortly after the All-Star break. Once again, it will be tough for Terry Collins to find playing time for all his outfielders, but it may be a little easier with Lucas Duda, Andres Torres, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis struggling at the plate, and the possibility of Captain Kirk being on the shelf.
When healthy, Bay has showed some flashes of production, but it has been few and far between, as he boasts a triple slash of .187/.253/.373. We’ll see how he progresses through his rehab assignment, and more importantly, how he performs down in Port St. Lucie; if he struggles down there like he did before he returned to the team from his rib injury, I would anticipate another slow start once he comes back from his concussion. Only time will tell.