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Friday, November 19, 2010
Farmhands' AFL campaign complete

By Adam Rubin

The Mets' prospects completed their 2010 Arizona Fall League season, combining with farmhands from the Angels, Cubs, Phillies and Pirates to go 13-17 with the Mesa Solar Sox.

Infielder Jordany Valdespin finished seventh in the AFL in batting average at .355, although his season ended after a Nov. 8 appearance because of a forearm strain. Similarly, right-hander Brad Holt (2-1, 2.92 ERA, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 9 BB, 13 K) had his season cut short after pitching one inning on Nov. 3.

Josh Satin went from the twice-a-week taxi squad playing first base to his natural second base full time after Valdespin's injury. The Cal-Berkeley product ultimately hit .390 with one homer and six RBIs in 41 at-bats.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who perhaps has surpassed Fernando Martinez as the top upper-level outfield prospect, had his average slip to .256 late. In 90 at-bats, Nieuwenhuis had one homer, 12 RBIs and two steals in five attempts.

Catcher Kai Gronaeuer, a native of Germany, who has not yet played above Class A, hit .222 with eight RBIs in 45 at-bats. 

On the pitching side, left-hander Robert Carson went 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in 18.2 innings. Left-hander Eric Niesen went 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 11.2 innings (while allowing 17 hits and four walks). Right-hander Nick Carr went 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 16 innings.

Niesen would be a consideration for a left-handed role in the major league bullpen if he could find some consistency, but the Mets likely will have to go outside the organization for that role for Opening Day. Hisanori Takahashi already is gone, and workhorse free agent Pedro Feliciano's salary requirements make it appear more likely he will wind up elsewhere.

Also minor league-related, the Mets have re-signed left-hander Mike O'Connor to a minor league contract, according to Baseball America. The ex-Nat went 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA and six saves in 51 relief appearances at Triple-A Buffalo last season.