I don’t understand all the hating of Rick Ankiel. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but he was brought here to plug a hole in the Mets’ shoddy outfield defense and hit the occasional home run. That, he’s done.
His throw in the ninth inning last night would have nailed Ryan Zimmerman at second had shortstop Omar Quintanilla been in position and stayed with the play. Had the play been made, perhaps the Mets would have won, but the point is no other outfielder’s throw would have made it close.
I am all for playing the young players in a lost season, but Juan Lagares isn’t the answer. He has been clearly overmatched, but could get a chance against lefty Gio Gonzalez, who’ll replace Stephen Strasburg Thursday.
The rap on Triple-A Las Vegas is the climate makes it conducive for the long ball. That’s what Collins told Zack Wheeler, saying there would be less a premium on numbers. Using the same reasoning, why should Nieuwenhuis’ recent power surge of eight homers in 14 games – giving him ten overall – be regarded differently?
For his power, Nieuwenhuis only has 18 RBI, an indication he’s not hitting with runners in scoring position. Nieuwenhuis is still striking out at an alarming rate to prove he still doesn’t get it. He has more strikeouts (34) than hits (32) in 133 at-bats.
I don’t see where that is an upgrade.
PITCHING INJURY UPDATES: Jon Niese, who was scratched from his last start with shoulder tendinitis will throw in the bullpen this afternoon.
Niese hopes to start Saturday against Miami, but that is clearly in doubt. If his shoulder doesn’t respond, Niese could find himself on the disabled list.
Several weeks ago, Collins said back-to-back cold weather starts in Minnesota and Denver caused Niese’s back to tighten. It is possible this is a residual effect.
Also, Jeurys Familia will undergo surgery on his right elbow today to remove a bone spur.
PATRIOTIC OBLIGATION: As they always do when in Washington, the Mets will visit Walter Reed National Military Center this afternoon.
There are no reported exemptions from owner Fred Wilpon’s traditional, and urgent, request of his players.
IN TROUBLE: Cesar Puello isn’t in the major leagues, but the Double-A Binghamton outfielder is facing a suspension in the Biogenesis case now that founder Tony Bosch is willing to list names.
ON DECK: Tonight’s game.
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