NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis believes he has found his swing after struggling early in the season with the Mets. He opened the season 2-for-16 with eight strikeouts in the majors before being dispatched to Triple-A Las Vegas.
He is due to rejoin the Mets today, displacing Rick Ankiel, who was designated for assignment.
"I think Wally and George have done a great job with helping me out, for sure," Nieuwenhuis told Russ Langer on Saturday's 51s pregame show. "I owe a lot to them. They straightened me out and helped me out a lot. I was kind of lost when I came down here, not having at-bats in spring training. I was kind of in a funk, and they really helped me out. They really put a lot of effort into it."
Nieuwenhuis had missed nearly three full weeks of Grapefruit League games with a bone bruise in his left knee, which he suffered sliding into second in a spring-training game.
Asked if the changes made in Triple-A were mechanical or mental, Nieuwenhuis added: "A little bit of both. I think there were definitely mechanical things that I thought was an issue. And then I just think hunting fastballs is the biggest thing that me and Wally talked about."
The Mets want Nieuwenhuis to make more contact, which means a better two-strike approach.
As for his recent power surge, which gave him 10 homers in 142 Triple-A at-bats this season, Nieuwenhuis said: "It’s fun to be able to do stuff like that and contribute to a win, for sure."