With Andres Torres headed to the disabled list because of a strained left calf, the Mets are planning to promote Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A prior to Saturday’s game.
Nieuwenhuis is recovering from an injury himself, having been down for most of the spring with a strained oblique. That prevented him from getting much play as a candidate to fill in when it looked like both Torres and Scott Hairston might start the season on the DL. Nieuwenhuis, though, is back on the field now and he went 0-for-2 in Thursday’s Triple-A opener.
Nieuwenhuis hit .298/.403/.505 in 53 games for Triple-A Buffalo last year before suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder and missing the second half of the season. Baseball America rates him the Mets’ No. 7 prospect.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.