June 13, 2009

VIDEO: Fernando Nieve, Mets New Starter

VIDEO: Fernando Nieve, Mets New Starter

hile discussing Fernando Nieve, the Mets’ scheduled starter Saturday, Manager Jerry Manuel also mentioned a pitcher who could be just as important: Ken Takahashi. Manuel said he would use Takahashi only as a long man, a sign that the Mets are hoping for the best from Nieve but preparing for the worst.

The Mets promoted Nieve from the bullpen, where he pitched two scoreless innings last Saturday in his only appearance, after placing John Maine on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue. They had few appealing options in the minor leagues, and they preferred adding a left-handed reliever to do what Takahashi, who gave up a three-run homer to Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez on Thursday night, has proved he cannot: retire left-handed hitters.

To that end, the Mets recalled Jon Switzer from Class AAA Buffalo, where he held lefties to a .186 average. His arrival reduces the stress on the Mets’ primary left-handed specialist, Pedro Feliciano, and allows Manuel to turn around the Yankees’ switch-hitters — Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera — and not have them hit toward the home run haven in right-center field.

“That’s all I’ve been asked to do,” said Switzer, who spent part of four seasons with Tampa Bay.

The burden on Nieve, who has not started a major league game since June 15, 2006, is heavy, but the Mets think he can get them through five innings. A reliever with Houston, Nieve has made eight starts between Class AA Binghamton and Buffalo this season, and he said he was excited about pitching at Yankee Stadium.

VIDEO: Fernando Nieve, Mets New Starter

Posted at June 13, 2009 7:29 PM

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