Andres Torres the hot choice over Kirk Nieuwenhuis for now

Andres Torres scores during the second inning of Andres Torres scores during the second inning of a game against the Phillies at Citi Field. (July 3, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Andres Torres' post-All-Star Game revival continues to squeeze rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis' playing time after Nieuwenhuis' surprise contributions during Torres' early-season stay on the disabled list.

Torres entered Friday night's game with a .379 average in his previous eight games before going 0-for-4.

"Been playing great," Terry Collins said of Torres. "Been swinging the bat great, and with him in the lineup, with his foot speed, he can create some runs. He's a very good outfielder. When we started this season, this is what we were hoping we were going to see from Andres."

Collins acknowledged that he must find opportunities soon for Nieuwenhuis, in a 2-for-21 slump in his last nine games. But he chose instead to start Jason Bay, in his fourth game back from the disabled list, in leftfield.

Francisco checks in

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Closer Frank Francisco, on the disabled list with an abdominal muscle strain since June 24 and lately rehabilitating at the team's Port St. Lucie, Fla., camp, was at Citi Field to throw briefly for the team's staff. Francisco said he felt "fine," expected to pitch a bullpen session Sunday and possibly pitch in a minor-league game Tuesday.

O's grab Quintanilla

Infielder Omar Quintanilla, designated for assignment Tuesday to make room for Bay, was picked up by Baltimore on Friday for cash and future considerations. Quintanilla, an emergency call-up from Buffalo when the Mets lost Ruben Tejada to injury, hit .257 in 29 games and was sent off with heartfelt praise by Collins.

"He knew coming in what his job was, and that was to play as well as he could until Ruben came back," Collins said. "And he did. I told him, 'This team owes you a tremendous thank you for the job you did.' . . . He's had a lot to do with where we sit today."

You also may be interested in: