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1-on-1 With Mets Rookie CF

Michael Baron -

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First the Mets, then the galaxy

'Captain' Kirk Nieuwenhuis was called up for the 2nd game of the season after Andres Torres re-strained the same calf the he had hurt during spring training. Despite his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, Kirk moves well enough to be a natural centerfielder, something the Mets needed with the absence of Torres at the beignning of the season.

Nieuwenhuis wasn't expected to do much after not having much playing time due to a strained hamstring during spring training and missing the 2nd half of last season in the minors while recovering from surgery on the labrum of his non-throwing shoulder.

Obviously, he's done well enough to surpass those expectations, platoon with Andres Torres, and even garner consideration for NL rookie of the year. Through June 26th, Nieuwenhuis is batting .277 with 7 homers and 25 RBIs. Even though he's hit 5 homers this month, his batting average has dropped significantly. In 75 ABs in June, Kirk has only had 18 hits, good for a .240 average.

We discussed his recent struggles, what his expectations were going into the year, and what winning NL ROY would mean to him.