The New York Mets made a pair of transactions in the last 24 hours. The first was placing Juan Lagares on the DL and calling up Kirk Nieuenhuis to play center field. The second was made just hours ago when they sent John Lannan to the minors and called up Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Lagares was injured in the opening game of the series in Arizona when he tweaked a hamstring running out a fielder’s choice. Hamstrings are notoriously stubborn injuries and it is easy for a player to come back too soon and do significant damage, so the Mets opted to play it safe and shut Lagares down for two weeks with the strain. To replace Lagares the Mets called up a familiar face in Nieuenhuis. Kirk has had a few brief stints with the Mets and has shown the ability to hit for power as well as play a very good defensive game in center. However, he has struggled with his batting average which is why he has been passed over as the Mets star young outfielder by Lagares. It will be interesting to see what happens when Chris Young is set to return on Friday, whether Kirk or Andrew Brown are demoted to make room on the roster. But if Nieuenhuis continues to play like he did Tuesday night (3-5, 1HR, 3RBI) it’ll be hard to send him down.
John Lannan began the season as a valued second left-hander out of the bullpen. However, he struggled mightily out of the gate and never got it together. He really had only one good outing when he pitched two shutout innings to earn a win against the Angels. Lannan had pitched only 4 innings in his five outings and had an ERA over 15. Lannan’s struggles this season are no more evident than in his first two outings. 1 inning pitched between 2 outings and 4 earned runs allowed. Overall he allowed seven runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in his four innings of work on the year. He struggled to get people out and in the end it cost him his job. Lannan has 72 hours to decide to either go to the minors or attempt to take his talents elsewhere.
Matsuzaka had been pitching in Las Vegas and had performed well with a 2.25 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched. He will reportedly be used out of the bullpen or as a long reliever, but there has also been talk about him taking a spot start if Jenrry Mejia’s blister or Bartolo Colon’s back continue acting up. Dice-K made 7 starts for the Mets down the stretch last season and really found his groove in the last four. They hope he can continue his hot pitching out of the bullpen and help a group that has improved of late but still has some work to be done. Matsuzaka was considered a favorite for the fifth starter spot in spring training so his demotion was a surprise to some. However, Dice-K is now back with the major league team and ready for his season debut.