MIAMI — Brandon Nimmo is a minor-leaguer again.
The Mets optioned the outfielder to Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday to make room for righthander Corey Oswalt, who was called up for the first time to serve as a fresh arm in a bullpen that has been worked heavily in the past week.
“Tough break for Nimmo,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He deserves to be here. He handled the news unbelievable. What a guy. He’s a winning player and he’s going to help us for a long, long time. It’s tough, but we felt like it was necessary.”
Nimmo won a spot in the Opening Day lineup with a strong spring training, but when Michael Conforto returned last week, it left Nimmo without an obvious path to considerable playing time. He had three at-bats in the past four games. Nimmo is 3-for-9 with a .600 OBP in six games.
Callaway said Nimmo, who is as consistently happy and cheery as anyone in the clubhouse, took the news well, telling the manager he does not worry about what he cannot control.
“That’s the right outlook to have every time,” Callaway said. “He was great about it. Probably the best send-down I’ve ever been involved in.”
In the minors, Nimmo will be able to play every day, though that was only part of the Mets’ motivation.
“This kid is going to be an everyday player,” Callaway said. “Any time we can get him as many at-bats as possible, it’s probably to his benefit.”
Oswalt arrives, leaves
Hello, you must be going.
Oswalt learned after the game that he was being sent back to Las Vegas, so he came a long way for nothing. He had to go back in a hurry because the Mets had to send out another player to officially add Zack Wheeler, who starts Wednesday night, to the 25-man roster.
After getting word Monday night of his call-up, Oswalt took a red-eye flight from Vegas to Florida, arriving at his hotel by 8 a.m. Then he tried to sleep, but that didn’t last long.
“I was pumped and jacked up, ready to go,” said Oswalt, who was scheduled to fly back to Vegas on Wednesday.
Oswalt, 24, a seventh-round draft pick in 2012, was the Mets’ minor-league pitcher of the year last season, when he had a 2.28 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 24 starts for Double-A Binghamton. He had been scheduled to start Tuesday night for Vegas.
His promotion changed those plans as well as midweek plans for his parents, siblings and fiance, who flew in from Southern California. “It happened so quick,” Oswalt said. “I wasn’t expecting it that quick, but I’m very excited for the opportunity.”
Oswalt is listed at 6-5, 250 pounds. Callaway praised his ability to mix a fastball, curve, slider and changeup and attack hitters. “He’s got a great arsenal,” he said. “He knows how to pitch. And he goes out there and attacks hitters.”
Bruce is loose at first
Rightfielder Jay Bruce took grounders at first base for the first time this season Monday during batting practice. Bench coach Gary DiSarcina said the team had wanted to get Bruce reps there since spring training, but were waiting for his foot pain to calm down.