Nieuwenhuis Homers in Friday's Opening Intrasquad game

Nieuwenhuis Homers in Friday's Opening Intrasquad game

Nieuwenhuis Homers in Friday's Opening Intrasquad game

Friday’s opening intrasquad game proved the to be a prospect showcase, with center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivering a two-run homer on a curveball from Daniel Herrera, third baseman Zach Lutz’s double setting up the victorious team’s other run and highly regarded pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia getting in two innings apiece.

Nieuwenhuis’ two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth of the seven-inning game provided a 3-2 win after Frank Francisco notched the save.

Dillon Gee pitched two innings for the losing side and allowed one run, when he walked Nieuwenhuis, surrendered a double off the left-field wall to Lutz and then an RBI groundout by Valentino Pascucci with the infield playing back.

Nieuwenhuis, 24, likely is ticketed for Triple-A Buffalo to open the season. That move became cemented when Nieuwenhuis missed the second half of last season with the Bisons. He underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder. That stunted his development, and the Mets obtained Andres Torres from San Francisco to play center field in 2012.

The decision with Nieuwenhuis might be a midseason call-up, especially if Torres falters ultimately will be whether he is too big to play center field at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.

A scout recently agreed about Nieuwenhuis’ potential to remain in center field.

“He’ll fool you,” the scout said. “He can cover some ground for a big boy.”

Nieuwenhuis, who moves well for his size, firmly believes he can remain at the position rather than shift to a corner outfield spot. Terry Collins dropped a Jim Edmonds comparison in discussing Nieuwenhuis.

Nieuwenhuis also has been compared to Kirk Gibson...

By Mets Chronicle
Sunday, 4 Mar 2012


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