Kirk Nieuwenhuis inching closer to activation, but will he rejoin the Mets?
Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ rehab assignment shifted to Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday night where he went 1-for-4 before being ejected in the eighth inning of the 51s 5-4 loss to the Iowa Cubs at Cashman Field.
Nieuwenhuis is now 2-for-12 with a home run, two RBI, two walks and two strikeouts during his rehab assignment with Single-A St. Lucie and Triple-A Las Vegas.
Nieuwenhuis has been on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his upper back since August 2. He is eligible to be activated today, but that seems unlikely to take place.
He can be on a rehabilitation assignment for a maximum of 20 days before the team must activate him from the disabled list. Considering Nieuwenhuis started his rehab assignment on August 13, the Mets could technically wait until September 1 – when rosters expand to 40 players – to activate him.
That’s not necessarily the right thing to do, especially if Nieuwenhuis is ready well before that date. But the Mets do have flexibility according to the rules, and they have the right to take advantage of that flexibility, even if it means they get a grievance from the Players Association in the process.
But if they are compelled to activate Nieuwenhuis before September 1, there may not be a place for him on the active roster right now, especially with David Wright projecting to return sometime next week.
They could designate him for assignment, hope he passes through waivers, and add him back to the 40-man and active roster in September. But Nieuwenhuis has the right to declare free agency since he’s been designated for assignment more than once this season.
Perhaps the two sides could forge an agreement that would reward Nieuwenhuis a roster spot in September, if he passes through waivers and agrees to go to the minors.
For Nieuwenhuis, that might be his best bet towards returning to the big leagues and being eligible for postseason play in 2015.
Since returning to the Mets on July 6, Nieuwenhuis has hit .317/.404/.634 with four doubles, three home runs and ten RBI in 17 games. He became the first Met in club history to hit three home runs in a home game on July 12 against the Diamondbacks.