The Mets have activated Mike Baxter for tomorrow night’s game in San Francisco. They have also optioned Nieuwenhuis to Buffalo.
Baxter has been out since injuring himself while making one of the greatest catches of the year leaping into the left field wall at Citi Field to save Johan Santana‘s no-hitter. Before getting hurt, Baxter was a key piece off the bench, hitting .323 over 65 at-bats. It’s a small sample size, but it is enough to earn him playing time over Jason Bay.
Nieuwenhuis has been up with the Mets since early April. He got off to a very fast start, but has struggled over the second half of his stint in the big leagues. Strikeouts, which were his biggest problem coming out of the minor leagues, became even more frequent recently. This month, he has a strikeout rate of over 40%, which is really, really bad. He has also failed to hit left-handers well, a problem that the Mets have overall as a team. He’s hitting just .180 against them this season.
This move means that Jason Bay will lose major playing time. Bay was in the lineup for so long mostly because he was a right-handed bat that could (sort of) balance out the lineup. However, now that Baxter’s up and has proven himself to be a bigger producer (again, small sample size) he will now get Bay’s lineup spot and starting left field position if Bay doesn’t pick it up this week.
Maybe having Baxter back can bring some life to a team that badly needs it.