SAN FRANCISCO - In spring training, at the start of a long, odd and twisting journey, few signs of trouble existed for Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
The Mets outfielder looked ready to pick up where he left off as a solid bat off the bench. But once the season started, the bottom fell out for Nieuwenhuis, who rejoined the Mets on Monday after being traded away earlier in the season. He had a none-out double in the ninth before scoring on Johnny Monell's two-run double.
"I felt good in spring training for sure, pretty much all the way through, especially at the beginning," he said. "But I guess if you were to tell me this was going to happen during the spring, I probably wouldn't have believed you."
When the Mets traded Nieuwenhuis to the Angels for cash on May 27, he was hitting .079 (3-for-38). But the Mets claimed him off waivers on June 13 before shipping him to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .293 in 15 games.
"He went down and swung the bat kind of like the way he knew he would after getting some consistent at-bats," Terry Collins said. "So we're going to get him in there tonight and hopefully he can give us some offense."
Nieuwenhuis replaces demoted Darrell Ceciliani, who hit .206 in 39 games.
The Mets did not seriously consider bringing up 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto, according to a source. Conforto is hitting .313 with Double-A Binghamton.
Jenrry Mejia is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday, having completed his 80-game PED suspension. "Right now, we have no particular role that's laid out for him," said Collins, although he added, "We're excited to have him back because he's got plus stuff and he's going to help us."
Mejia had a 1.50 ERA in six minor-league games.