CHICAGO -- Terry Collins said he gave Kirk Nieuwenhuis an atypical day off against a right-handed starter Wednesday at Wrigley Field because the rookie is struggling at the plate and needs time to work in the cage with hitting coach Dave Hudgens. Collins said Nieuwenhuis' head is turning away from the baseball as he swings instead of being locked in on the target.
New York Mets
Andres Torres instead starts in center field.
Nieuwwenhuis is hitting .115 (3-for-26) in his past nine games.
"He's really struggling," Collins said. "I try to make sure that we don't get some of these young players in a deep pit where they all of a sudden start questioning whether they belong here or not. I just want him to work with Dave a little bit and get this thing fixed, because we need him. When he's playing, when he's swinging the bat like he can, it's a huge part of our team.
"The other day, the Yankee game, he hit a big home run for us. But we've got to get it fixed. When he looked at some video this morning, he's just not seeing the ball. And when you don't see it, it's tough to hit it."