Rick Ankiel entered today’s marathon ballgame against the Marlins in the 13th inning, taking reliever David Aardsma’s spot at #9 in the lineup. In his four at-bats, he struck out three times and fouled out weakly to Placido Polanco at third base. Since coming over to the Mets after the Astros cut him, Ankiel came to the plate 71 times, getting hits in only 12 of them.
The Mets designated Ankiel for assignment and have recalled Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A Las Vegas, reports ESPN’s Adam Rubin. Nieuwenhuis is hitting .232 in the Minors, but has a .339 on-base percentage thanks to 22 walks in 167 PA. He has a .486 slugging percentage as well, thanks in large part to ten home runs.
Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.
Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).
Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.
Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.