Kirk Nieuwenhuis left yesterday’s game against the Marlins after he hurt his left knee on a head-first slide into second base, but he received some encouraging news today. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Nieuwenhuis was diagnosed with a bone bruise and doesn’t have any ligament damage.
While it appears that Nieuwenhuis managed to avoid a serious injury, he was still limping badly this afternoon and estimates that he could miss anywhere from a few days to a week. The hope is that anti-inflammatories will get him back on the field soon.
Nieuwenhuis, who is trying to secure the starting center fielder job, batted .252/.315/.376 with seven home runs, 28 RBI, four stolen bases and a .691 OPS in 91 games with the Mets last season. The 25-year-old had just one hit over his first 18-bats this spring prior to the injury. Collin Cowgill, Matt den Dekker and Jordany Valdespin are among the alternatives for center field.
Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.
The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.
Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.