Nieuwenhuis, Monell fuel Mets in win over Braves

Nieuwenhuis, Monell fuel Mets in win over Braves

In the battle for the New York Mets’ vacant fifth outfield spot, Kirk Nieuwenhuis made an immediate impression Wednesday during the team’s first Grapefruit League game against the Atlanta Braves.

Nieuwenhuis, who is competing with Matt den Dekker for the spot, notched four hits and scored a run. Den Dekker also played, recording one hit in three at-bats.

Nieuwenhuis is considered the favorite to win the battle because he is out of options and would need to clear waivers to remain with the organization.

The Mets defeated the Braves, 8-2.

Game notes:

  • Johnny Monell launched a three-run home run in the 6th inning. Monell signed a minor league contract in December and is expected to serve as the back-up catcher to Kevin Plawecki for Triple-A Las Vegas.
  • Wilmer Flores exited the game after being struck by a pitch on the wrist. His replacement, shortstop candidate Matt Reynolds, recorded two hits in three at-bats.
  • Juan Lagares drew a walk to open the game, a rare occurence for the 2014 Gold Glove award winner. During his two Major League seasons, he has only walked in 4.5 percent of his plate appearances.
  • Dillon Gee allowed two first inning runs, but settled down and pitched a scoreless second frame.
  • Ex-Met Eric Young Jr. made a diving catch to rob Kevin Plawecki of an extra-base hit.

Looking forward:

The Mets head to Viera to play the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 6.

Photo credit: Michael G. Baron