Another day, two more Mets losses. One gets notched up in the loss column, the other scratches a player off the roster.
Fernando Nieve went down in the bottom of the second inning trying to leg out a groundball. His foot landed on first base awkwardly and he went down in heap on the first base line. He was said to have a right quadriceps strain, but more will be revealed after an MRI today.
One has to feel terribly for Nieve who was making the most of his chance at the big league level.
Now, the Mets have a choice to make: Nelson Figueroa, the journeyman pitcher they’ve designated for assignment twice in 2009, or Jon Niese, the young prospect who has seen the majors with little success so far, but is mowing down the International League.
Figueroa, who pitched once for the Mets in 2009, despite being called up twice, turned in a quality start against the Milwaukee Brewers before being DFA’d the first time. For Triple-A Buffalo, Figueroa was the team’s lone All-Star representative.
For the months of June and July, Figueroa made eight starts, winning six of them. His ERA was a miniscule 1.41, with a WHIP below 1.000 at 0.998.
Niese made two starts for the Mets in 2009. In 10 2-3 innings, he surrendered 14 hits and seven earned runs. But over June and July for Buffalo, he was equally impressive as Figueroa.
In the past two months, Niese has made nine starts, winning five. His ERA over the past three games is an unbelievable 0.41, as he allowed only one earned run in his last 22 innings.
If the Mets choose Figueroa to fill the roster spot, I feel that it will signal that they still believe they can compete in 2009 and want a “veteran” to come up to fill the spot. If they opt for Niese, it would seem that they are planning ahead for 2010 and will let Niese progress at the major league level, a la Mike Pelfrey a few years ago.
Though the Mets have two solid options waiting in upstate New York, whichever player they choose will show their attitude for the 2009 season.