The Mets have called up RHP Corey Oswalt and optioned OF Brandon Nimmo to Triple-A Las Vegas -- a move manager Mickey Callaway referred to as a "tough break."
"He deserves to be here," Callaway said before Tuesday night's game in Miami. "He handled the news unbelievably. What a guy. He's a winning player and he's gonna help us for a long, long time. It's tough, but we felt like it was necessary."
Callaway added that a need to get Nimmo at-bats was a concern, as was maintaining the health of the bullpen.
"I think a little bit of that was our concern," Callaway said about Nimmo's playing time. "He wasn't getting to play as much as he probably needs to play. This kid is gonna be an everyday player, and any time we can get him as many at-bats as possible. … and the other part was making sure we can get through the next couple of games healthily."
The 25-year-old Nimmo began the season as the starting center fielder as Michael Conforto recovered from shoulder surgery. Nimmo was hitting .333/.600/.444 in 15 plate appearances.
Oswalt, 24, had a 2.28 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while striking out 119 batters in 134.1 innings (24 starts) last season for Las Vegas.
He allowed three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out five in 4.0 innings during his season debut last week.
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The above was the reaction by pretty much everyone -- from fans to reporters -- to the news of Nimmo being sent down.
Nimmo hadn't played much since the return of Michael Conforto, but demoting him leaves the Mets with a four-man bench that consists of just one extra outfielder (Juan Lagares), though Jose Reyes is able to play the outfield in an emergency.
This move also runs counter to what Mickey Callaway said late during Spring Training -- that the Mets would simply go with their best players. By sending Nimmo down and keeping Reyes on the roster, the Mets are sending the opposite message.
Yes, at-bats for Nimmo at the moment are few and far between. But he's been a valuable asset on the bench. And is a proven major leaguer. He doesn't belong in Las Vegas.
That the Mets wanted an extra bullpen arm makes sense. But again, I don't see why Nimmo couldn't have remained on the team while continuing to get time for now as a pinch-hitter -- a role he's shown promise in.
Another way for the Mets to make room for Oswalt could have been to demote Hansel Robles (who has pitched in four of the last five games) or Paul Sewald (who hasn't pitched since April 1).
Instead, they demoted Nimmo, who must remain in the minors for at least 10 days unless the Mets suffer an injury at the big league level and call Nimmo up to replace that player.