Nieuwenhuis On The Mend

Nieuwenhuis should get cleared soon

Like Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was on the short list of potential potential outfielders available from the minor leagues when the 2011 season began but suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder by mid-July. Now on the mend, he's inching his way closer to resuming baseball activities.

"I basically just tore my labrum in a couple of different spots," Nieuwenhuis said. "It wasn't healing up very well so we had to go in there with surgery and get it fixed. I'm feeling great now.

"I've been rehabbing for the past two or three months and hopefully will be cleared within the next few weeks to start baseball activities."

He had been putting together another solid season prior, hitting .298 with 17 doubles, six home runs, five stolen bases, and sporting a .403 on-base percentage.

"I felt like I was having some good experience hitting in the three hole and the two hole, and seeing some good pitching," he said. "I felt like I was doing pretty well and making improvements.

"I was chomping at the bit to get up there [to Queens] to play with my friends. It was disappointing when Ike [Davis] went down and when I went down also. It was a tough year."

If there was a silver lining to his particular injury, however, it was that it happened to his non-throwing shoulder and that has allowed his recovery to be a bit quicker.

"I was pretty disappointed, I'm not going to lie. I was going to make it up [to the big leagues] soon. It was definitely disappointing for sure. There's a little bit of a range as far as time goes for games coming back from labrum surgery.

"I think it helped me that one, the Mets have great surgeons. And then two it's not my throwing shoulder. Hopefully I'll bounce back quicker than it would if it were my throwing shoulder.

"They said it would definitely be better because it was not the throwing shoulder but they did not know the extent of it until they went in.

"Once they went in and saw what it was they said the labrum was torn pretty good and that I definitely needed surgery, but thankfully the rotator cuff wasn't hurt at all and my bicep looked good as well. That was definitely a blessing."

He is bouncing back quicker. While he hasn't been able to resume baseball activities just yet, he has been able to start lifting with his upper-body.

"I have full range of motion," he revealed. "I've just been rehabbing out here in California and I'll fly back to New York and get cleared here in the next couple of weeks.

"I've definitely been progressing with my upper-body lifts and stuff. I've been lifting weights but not my usual offseason workout routine."

He is definitely itching to get back though to regular baseball activities, even to something as normally mundane as swinging off of a tee.

"It's definitely a form of torture," he admitted. "As a baseball player it's your livelihood. You go this long without swinging, it's pretty crappy."

Currently taking classes to get closer to graduating from college, the prognosis is he should be back into the swing of things by Spring Training.

"I'm finishing up school since I can't do any baseball activities right now. I'm taking classes right now and then I'll be in St. Lucie to get ready for Spring Training. I'll probably get down there a little early.

"That was the plan all along. They said I should be back with no limitations by Spring Training for sure. It was kind of expected but I'm real happy with how it has healed so far," he concluded.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories