Remember Andres Torres? Of course you don’t — he went down on Opening Day with a calf injury, and since then Kirk Nieuwenhuis has filled in so well in center field that we forgot someone else was supposed to be playing there. Well, Torres is coming back on Monday, and will be re-installed in center and at the top of the lineup.
Listening to Terry Collins, it appears he is making this move in order to jump-start the Mets running game, which has been virtually non-existent thus far.
“The one thing we don’t do is we don’t steal bases. We’re last in the league,” Collins said. “There are not very many opportunities to run, because we don’t have that guy we know that can steal. He would bring that dimension for sure.”
Collins said Nieuwenhuis will still see time in left field, where he has never played before, and likely be moved down to the seventh or eighth spot in the lineup. However Scott Hairston is slated to start two games in Houston because of left handed starters.
This could turn out to be a huge mistake. Nieuwenhuis is thriving, batting .316, good for 12th in the NL. He does strike out a lot — 24 times, tied for sixth most in the league, so perhaps he is not suited for leadoff, but still, he was doing well there. Why change now?
Also, he has been playing an excellent center field, making several sensational catches. Torres is a natural center fielder as well, but I would think a veteran would have an easier time adjusting to a new position than a rookie.
I guess it is good to try Torres in center and at leadoff, since that was the plan since spring training. But if it doesn’t work, I would hope the Mets aren’t married to it and make the switch back to Nieuwenhuis. Clearly he is the future, not Andres Torres.