Stop if you’ve heard this before, but New York Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis is currently on the shelf with an injury. Nieuwenhuis suffered what is being called a bone bruise during the Mets spring training game on Sunday while sliding into second base. He’s only expected to miss a week at most, but with Nieuwenuis you never know for sure, as this is just the latest in a string of injuries for the outfielder.
Nieuwenhuis suffered a torn labrum in 2011, which limited him to just 53 games in AAA. Last season, he made his major league debut and spent four months with the Mets before being sent back to AAA in August, where Nieuwenhuis promptly injured his plantar fascia, which cost him the rest of the 2012 season. With this latest setback, injuries have officially become a trend for Nieuwenhuis. For a high school football player that could have played running back in college, Nieuwenhuis hasn’t proved himself to be all that durable of a baseball player.
The trouble Nieuwenhuis has staying on the field is such an issue for the Mets because he’s projected to be their opening day center fielder and get a bulk of the playing time at that position, although he’s likely to platoon with Collin Cowgill. Nieuwenhuis is already the default option for the Mets, who failed to bring in a proven center fielder during the offseason. Two years removed from being one of the top prospects in the organization, and Nieuwenhuis still isn’t an established major league player, in large part because of injuries. He was far from a sure thing to begin with, and yet another injury isn’t going to help matters.
Still, the Mets better hope for a speedy recovery, because a lot is going to be expected of Nieuwenhuis this year, and with just one hit in his first 18 spring training at bats, Nieuwenhuis needs to get back on the field and get ready for the season as soon as possible.