Prognosis good for Kirk Nieuwenhuis' knee

Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis at bat during an intra-squad

Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis at bat during an intra-squad game in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis will miss at least three more days after an MRI exam Monday revealed that he has a left knee bone bruise.

Nieuwenhuis expressed relief that he suffered no ligament damage, which might have knocked him out of the competition for a spot in the Mets' outfield. "Thankfully, this isn't serious," said Nieuwenhuis, who was injured on a slide in Sunday's game against the Marlins.

Wheeler improving

Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler will play catch Tuesday and Wednesday before possibly throwing a bullpen session Friday, pitching coach Dan Warthen said. If all goes well, Wheeler (oblique strain) could pitch in a game by early next week.

Manager Terry Collins said Wheeler feels good but that the Mets are not going to rush him. "He's not going to make the club anyway,'' Collins said, "so we're going to err on the side of caution."

D'Arnaud plays it safe

Catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud said he gave Chris Johnson an open lane to the plate in the fifth inning of the Mets' 4-2 loss to the Braves Monday. Johnson nevertheless was thrown out at home while trying to score on Blake DeWitt's double.

"Whatever the organization wants me to do, I'll do it," said d'Arnaud, who has been instructed to avoid contact at home plate.

Veterans day

Veteran pitchers Shaun Marcum, LaTroy Hawkins and Pedro Feliciano will pitch in a 'B' game Tuesday against the Marlins in Jupiter. Marcum and Hawkins have been on a slower throwing program and Feliciano is working his way back after doctors discovered he has a genetic heart condition.

Wally is next man up

First-base coach Tom Goodwin missed Monday's game with the flu. He was replaced in the coaching box by Triple-A Las Vegas manager Wally Backman.

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