Nieuwenhuis with the New York Mets
|New York Mets – No. 9|
August 7, 1987 |
Santa Monica, California
|Bats: Left||Throws: Right|
|April 7, 2012 for the New York Mets|
(through July 4, 2014)
|Runs batted in||49|
Nieuwenhuis played three seasons of baseball at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. There he led the Cougars to back-to-back NAIA World Series Appearances in '07 and '08 and set school career records in runs scored, with 190, and triples, with 12.
New York Mets
Nieuwenhuis was drafted by the New York Mets in the third round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft out of the Azusa Pacific University. After hitting .298 in Triple-A Buffalo, Nieuwenhuis was added to the Mets 40 man roster on November 18, 2011. After performing well during his debut with the Mets, Nieuwenhuis garnered the moniker Captain Kirk from New York Mets Fans. It refers to the fictional Captain Kirk from the 1960s television series Star Trek.
Nieuwenhuis began his professional career at Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League, where he played 74 games and hit .277. Nieuwenhuis had 15 doubles, five triples and three home runs among 79 hits in 319 plate appearances. Following his first professional season, Nieuwenhuis continued to play well throughout the Mets' Minor League system. He played at every level, finishing the 2010 campaign at Triple-A Buffalo. In 2011, Nieuwenhuis was shut down with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. It cost him most of the second half of his season.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis was called up on April 7, 2012, to replace the injured Andres Torres. Nieuwenhuis got his first major hit, an infield hit, on the same day he was called up; Nieuwenhuis finished the day 2-4. On April 9, in only his second start and third major league game, Nieuwenhuis hit his first Major League home run against Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson. On April 27, he hit a walk-off single against the Miami Marlins off of Marlins closer Heath Bell giving the Mets the series sweep against the Marlins.
Though he garnered early National League Rookie of the Year consideration for his .297 average, six home runs and superlative outfield defense through June 15, Nieuwenhuis batted .123 with one home run after that date, striking out in more than 44 percent of his plate appearances. By July 28th, Nieuwenhuis was batting .252 with 7 home runs and 28 RBIs and on July 30th, he was optioned to the Mets Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, to make way for Mike Baxter and Jason Bay who were coming off of the disabled list. On August 6th while with Buffalo, Nieuwenhuis was diagnosed with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot, which occurred while running down the first-base line just days after being optioned by the Mets. He reported to Port St. Lucie for rehab, then on August 22, he was shut down for the rest of the season to heal his foot. Through 91 games and 282 at bats, Niewenhuis was batting .252 with 7 home runs and 28 RBIs, while playing the outfield for the Mets.
In late April, Nieuwenhuis was demoted to Triple-A after hitting 2 for 16 for the Mets in April. However, he was called back up to the Mets to take Rick Ankiel's spot on the roster. Nieuwenhuis had been hitting .232 at Triple-A before his promotion.
On June 10, 2013, Nieuwenhuis was again called up to the Mets playing center field. 
- "Mets have valuable building block in Nieuwenhuis". Mets.com. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Mets add 7 prospects to 40-man roster
- NY Mets put Andres Torres on disabled list, call up Kirk Nieuwenhuis from minors
- "Mets' McHugh to make his debut in matinee". MLB.com. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- "Baxter rejoining Mets on Monday". MLB.com. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Tim Byrdak has tear in shoulder". ESPN.com. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- "McHugh set for big-league debut". nypost.com. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
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